Earthworks company slapped with big fine for serious workplace injury

By Michael Roberts | posted on November 26, 2020

A MOUNT Barker earthworks business has been penalised $33,000 in Albany Magistrates Court for failing to provide a safe work environment after an employee’s legs were crushed by a 3000kg front-end loader in 2017.

Screenwest, which owns earthworks company Healy N J & Sons, was conducting excavation work at a site in the south Stirling Ranges when events turned horribly wrong.

A long-serving Screenwest employee, David Siwiecki, was carrying out laser levelling inside an excavation pit when a reversing front-end loader knocked him to the ground and rode up onto his legs.

Mr Siwiecki suffered an open fracture to his right tibia and a closed fracture to his left femur.

He was transported to Albany Health Campus and eventually flown to Perth for surgery.

One of Screenwest’s directors, Quentin Healy, was driving the loader that crushed Mr Siwiecki’s legs.

State Prosecutor Nick John told the court Mr Healy could have simply used a spotter to avoid the incident.

Mr Healy admitted to Worksafe inspectors the loader’s reversing camera was too blurry for him to see whether Mr Siwiecki was in the way of the machinery.

Mr John labelled Mr Healy’s actions “seriously negligent.”

“It’s a type of accident that happens too often,” he said.

For his part in the accident, Mr Healy was fined $11,000 and order to pay costs of $1500.

Screenwest was facing a maximum fine of $400,000, while Mr Healy could have been penalised up to $200,000.

Under legislation, those penalties have dramatically increased since the 2017 incident.

Screenwest has no affiliation with the film company of the same name.