A crane driver whose negligence caused a 1.9-tonne load of plaster and a crane boom to fall onto a worker was sentenced in the Launceston Magistrates Court to a wholly suspended six-month jail term.
Glenn Alec Gault, 36, pleaded guilty last week to a failure to comply with a health and safety duty in that he engaged in conduct without reasonable excuse that exposed a worker to the risk of death or serious injury.
He faced a maximum fine of $300,000 or up to five years' jail but Ms Cure did not impose a fine.
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"It was submitted that it could be dealt with by imposing a fine but I do not accept that as appropriate," she said.
Gault sat with his face in his hands as the sentence was handed down.
The injured worker, Darren Worker, 43, suffered multiple back fractures, a punctured lung and broken collarbone.
"I thought I was going to die," he said in a victim impact statement.
"I didn't think of anything but my three boys, that I was never going to see them again.
"I have been emotionally, physically, financially and socially affected from the outcome and aftermath of that horrific day."
Gault's employer Pfeiffer Cranes Pty Ltd was fined $50,000 compared with the available maximum of $500,000.
The company pleaded guilty to a failure to comply with a health and safety duty in that it was a person conducting a business which owed a duty to workers at the worksite and failed to ensure the provision of instruction, information and training.
Ms Cure said that there were no similar category 1 offences in Tasmania with which to compare penalty.
She said that Pfeiffer Cranes, a company with 17 cranes worth $13 million, had suffered financial costs of more than $100,000 as a result of the incident.
She disregarded a defence submission that she could proceed without conviction.
"After examining all the material I have formed the view that I must convict Pfeiffer Cranes," Ms Cure said.
The accident occurred on April 7, 2017, in North Bank Road, Trevallyn, when a 40-tonne crane was being used to lift four pallets of plaster to the first floor of a new home.
The crane had a counterweight of 1.4 tonnes when it needed one of 3.5 tonnes. The task was complicated when the builder sought that the plaster be placed further away from the crane-at the rear of the top-level rather than the middle. The crane has a safety system which stops the crane from moving when it senses it has reached 75 per cent of capacity.
"When it reaches 100 per cent of its capacity, alarms and lights also sound. The lights are visible both inside and outside the crane," she said.
"For the second, third and fourth of these lifts Mr Gault manually overrode the safety system by using a 'LMB override' button," prosecutors said.
The crane's manual indicated that overriding the system "can cause serious damage and tremendous risk to persons and equipment".
The court heard that the fourth lift of 1.9 tonnes was 117 per cent of the crane's capacity when the load slipped from the crane.
"Mr Worker was struck by the pallet and trapped under the load ... the boom of the crane then collapsed," Ms Bill said.
Mr Worker said that if a load of bricks had not halted the fall of the crane's boom he probably would have died.
The manual override had been used on more than 100 prior occasions, Workplace Tasmania found.