Toowoomba company fined $25,000
A TOOWOOMBA company has been fined $25,000 and ordered to pay costs for failing to report a serious workplace accident to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.
A 29-year-old apprentice boilmaker had sustained serious head injuries when the fuel tanker he was working on exploded at KFS Fuel Services' depot at Torrington to Toowoomba's west on April 10, 2013.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) senior prosecutor Steve McMurray told Toowoomba Magistrates Court the authority didn't hear about the incident until some 17 months later when the injured man's legal representatives Kennedy Spanner Lawyers contacted WHSQ.
Subsequent investigations found the employee had been doing maintenance on a road fuel tanker about 10.30am that day.
He had left the tanker while a pressure test was completed but when he returned to release the pressure a hatch had blown out and struck him in the head, he said.
The man had sustained a 14mm compound fracture of the skull and was taken to Toowoomba Hospital before being transferred to the Royal Prince Albert Hospital in Brisbane where he underwent surgery.
The injured man, who was the stepson of the company's managing director, still suffered difficulties from his injuries today, Mr McMurray said.
Because the company hadn't notified the authority about the incident a proper investigation couldn't be done, he said.
The company had ceased trading in December 2015 and had since been placed in liquidation and any monetary penalty imposed by the court would be added to the company's debts, he said.
Before this particular incident the company had no prior convictions but the consequences of the accident had been significant, Mr McMurray told the court.
No-one from the company or the liquidators was in court for the sentence hearing but Magistrate Graham Lee was satisfied to hear the case in their absence.
Mr McMurray said the maximum penalty for failing to notify the regulators of a workplace accident was $50,000.
Mr Lee fined the company $25,000 and ordered it pay $1500 professional costs.