Sonia Ellen Dillon and Mark John Dillon (In Partnership)
Court Summary - at a glance
- Identify the hazard of engulfment within grain silos;
- Develop, communicate and enforce policies and procedures including a safe working procedure for confined space work which includes:
- Hazard identification;
- Risk assessment;
- Permit to work;
- Training requirements;
- Competency assessment;
- Isolation of all services;
- Atmospheric monitoring;
- Safety equipment requirements;
- Personal protective equipment requirements; and
- Emergency planning.
- Ensure that suitable safety equipment is provided such as a harness attached to a lifeline or other device that is securely fastened at its extremity; and
- That another employee attends who is competent, equipped and stationed to effect an immediate rescue if any employee becomes trapped or engulfed;
On 16 March 2016, two electricians (the victim and a co-worker) entered the grain silo 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 defendant 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.