Harris Scarfe convicted of negligence after the death of a shopper – 2007

Posted by Andrew McGiffert |26 Jun 12 | 0 comments

Harris Scarfe convicted of negligence after the death of a shopper – 2007

Majort South Australian retailer, Harris Scarfe Australia Pty Ltd, was convicted and fined more than $20,000 in 2007 after an 89 year old woman suffered serious leg injuries in an incident while shopping at the flagship Rundle Mall store in 2005.

SafeWorkSA investigated the incident and later prosecuted the retailer after the woman’s family reported the incident to the agency shortly after it happened.

The customer was struck from behind by an overloaded stock trolley as she browsed in the store’s glassware section, she suffered a severed achilles tendon on her right leg and large lacerations to both ankles where she was struck by the trolley.

After some months later, and after numerous medical conditions the customer passed away.

SafeWorkSA’s investigation revealed a number of deficiencies in Harris Scarfe’s system of using stock trolleys, the retailer was charged with breaching the state OHS act, specifically in its duty to ensure the safety of ‘another person at its workplace’.

The SafeWork SA investigation found that Harris Scarfe:

  1. failed to ensure that stock trolleys were loaded without obscuring the view of trolley operator.
  2. failed to ensure a safe system of manoeuvring loaded stock trolleys in store amongst members of the public.
  3. failed to ensure adequate instruction and training regarding the safe loading and manoeuvring of stock trolleys.

Harris Scarfe pleaded guilty to the breach and was fined $20,400, with Industrial Magistrate Stephen Lieschke commenting:

“The risk and injury to (the woman) did not result from some transitory lapse from an established safe system of work. It was an accident waiting to happen.”



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