The Industrial Court has found that a company director failed to ensure workers weren’t exposed through skin contact or inhalation to chemicals likely to cause them injury or enforce personal protective equipment requirements, which subsequently resulted in the death of a worker. Investigations into the fatality revealed the likely cause of death to be ‘intentional solvent abuse’. The Court heard that prior to the death, several incidents had occurred in relation to the chemicals that meant that the director and other managers were aware of the problem, however did not make changes to reduce the misuse of, and exposure, to the chemicals in question.
The court found that the employer did not carry out any review of its procedures relating to the use of chemicals, nor did it introduce any formal, written procedures in relation to the use of chemicals. The director was fined $6,500 (with a 15% discount for an early guilty plea, cooperation and contrition).