Austin Bros (1980) Limited
Court Summary - at a glance
- Identify the hazard of engulfment within grain silos;
- Develop, communicate and enforce effective policy and procedures for confined space work which includes:
- Hazard identification;
- Risk assessment;
- Permit to work;
- Training requirements;
- Competency assessment;
- Isolation of all services;
- Atmospheric monitoring;
- Safety equipment requirements;
- Personal protective equipment requirements; and
- Emergency planning.
While the electricians were working inside, the outfeed auger on the silo was started. The farmer did not communicate to the electricians that the silo would be emptied. As a result, the grain inside the silo rapidly sunk down. The victim, who was standing at the time, sunk into the grain. The victim’s co-worker exited the silo, shut off the auger and raised the alarm that the victim was trapped. They managed to free the victim who was completely engulfed in grain.
The victim was transferred to Dunedin hospital via helicopter for a medical assessment and discharged later that afternoon. In total 15 people were exposed to the risk including emergency personnel.