December 23, 2012

WorkCover’s appeal against the July 2012 District Court $225,000 damages award to trucker Heinz Schmidt, ended in dismissal on Tuesday in a 3-0 decision.

The appeal judges upheld the lower court ruling that Schmidt’s employer should have provided a safe system of work, implemented a risk assessment, devised and documented a method to safely exit the prime mover, Neil Armstrong style; trained employees in the method; and monitored their compliance.

However, in a minor victory for WorkCover, the appeal court did overturn the lower court finding that the employer had been negligent by failing to provide a safe truck step system.

The employer had no obligation “to assess the slippage capabilities of the step system of a [Volvo]prime mover “purchased specifically for its recognised safety features”.

S J Sanders Pty Ltd v Schmidt [2012] QCA 358 Brisbane, Margaret McMurdo P, Gotterson JA and Boddice J 18/12/2012

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