Austin Bros (1980) Limited

Court Summary - at a glance

Date of offence:
16 March 2016
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Final decision date:
 
Fine imposed:
$35,000

Safety lessons learned:
  1. Identify the hazard of engulfment within grain silos;
  2. Develop, communicate and enforce effective policy and procedures for confined space work which includes:
      • Hazard identification;
      • Risk assessment;
      • Permit to work;
      • Training requirements;
      • Competency assessment;
      • Supervision;
      • Isolation of all services;
      • Atmospheric monitoring;
      • Safety equipment requirements;
      • Personal protective equipment requirements; and
      • Emergency planning.
  3. Ensure employees receive sufficient training in regards to confined space work and work at height;
  4. Monitor employees’ performance in regards to confined space work, work at height and lockout of equipment;
  5. Provide suitable and sufficient safety equipment to ensure work in confined spaces and at height is carried out safely; and
  6. Supply suitable and sufficient safety equipment to perform a rescue from a confined space in the event of an emergency.

Defendant name:
Austin Bros (1980) Limited
 
Industry:
Agriculture
 
Date of offence:
16 March 2016
 
Facts in brief:
Two electricians (the victim and a co-worker) entered a grain silo on a farm in Southland to wire up a motor that powers the grain stirrer.

While the electricians were working inside, the outfeed auger on the silo was started. The farmer did not communicate to the electricians that the silo would be emptied. As a result, the grain inside the silo rapidly sunk down. The victim, who was standing at the time, sunk into the grain. The victim’s co-worker exited the silo, shut off the auger and raised the alarm that the victim was trapped. They managed to free the victim who was completely engulfed in grain.

The victim was transferred to Dunedin hospital via helicopter for a medical assessment and discharged later that afternoon. In total 15 people were exposed to the risk including emergency personnel.
 
 
Offence section:
Sections 6 and 50(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
 
Date charged:

Court:
Gore - District Court
 
Plea:
Guilty
 
Final decision date:
 
Decision:
Convicted
 
Fine imposed:
$35,000
 
Maximum fine available:
$250,000
 
Reparation:
$5,000