Friday, May 08, 2020

Victorian junkyard owner Maria Jackson sentenced to jail over employee's death? When will Malaysia start sending owners to jail for death of workers?

When a worker is killed or injured at the workplace, Malaysian laws and enforcement with regards to occupational safety and health is sadly lacking. The number of deaths and injuries are very high, at least 2 deaths per day.

Now, if the employer had complied with all laws to make sure that the workplace is safe, then it may be simply an accident - and no one may be at fault.

But when the employer fails to obey the law and ensure the workplace is safe, that employer should be made criminally liable for the death and/or the injury - and should be subject to deterrent punishment, which should include prison terms for Directors, Owners, CEOs and other persons responsible. 

The law in Malaysia provides for prison terms - but alas, to date, there seem to be no one that has been send to prison ...even when the factory was 'illegal', or there were lots of other violations of the law....

Remember, the case of the Ice factory, where workers were killed by reason of ammonia poisoning - where it was revealed that the factory did not even have a license/permit to store hazardous material like ammonia...  

An inspection by the Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) at the ice factory in Section 36 here, where ammonia gas had leaked earlier today, found that the premises had a license to carry out ice processing activities, but was not permitted to store hazardous materials...

It was reported last week that two workers, both Indian nationals, were killed following mishap at the factory, which is located in front of the school. - Is Azmin, MB Selangor, Local Council responsible for 2 worker's deaths and children sick from ice factory ammonia leaks?

Did the Directors and owners get charged in court and sentenced to prison? 

What happened would also be a criminal offence - they could be charged for murder, manslaughter, some other offences that caused death? Remember, that this was also the incident that resulted  '...Six secondary school students were hospitalised after they inhaled ammonia fumes from a leaked gas tank at a nearby ice factory in Desa Latania, Section 36...'

What happened? Why was there no criminal prosecution in this case? 

Mere fines for breach of occupational safety and health laws is just not enough...

In Australia, a 72-year old owner of a company was earlier this year sentenced to 6 months imprisonment plus Australian 10,000 dollar fine.

Victorian junkyard owner Maria Jackson sentenced to jail over employee's death

ABC Gippsland
By Mim Cook
Maria Jackson smiling at her scrap metal yard in FosterMaria Jackson was recovering from a stroke and did not have a forklift licence at the time of the accident.(ABC Radio National) 
A South Gippsland woman has become the first person in Victoria to be sentenced to jail under Worksafe Victoria duty laws for recklessly endangering a worker.
Maria Carla Jackson, 72, was convicted and sentenced to six months' jail in December last year after the death of a man at her scrap metal yard in Foster, 174 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. 

Foster man Robbie Blake was killed when he fell three metres from a raised forklift and was hit by a falling bin in February 2017.

Ms Jackson was driving the forklift at the time.

She pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing to comply with her duty as a self-employed person not to expose other people to risk.

Ms Jackson also pleaded guilty to the more serious offence of recklessly engaging in conduct that placed others in danger of serious injury.

She appealed against the sentence and was granted bail but withdrew her appeal on January 21, 2019.
She was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $7,336 in court costs.

It is understood she was placed in custody this week.

"The worker, who was in his 50s, was inside the bin removing scrap steel when Ms Jackson lifted it with a forklift," Worksafe health and safety executive director Julie Nielson said.

"The bottom of the bin gave way, causing the worker to fall through and the bin and steel then fell on him."

Ms Jackson did not hold a forklift licence and was recovering from a stroke when she was driving the forklift.
She had run the Recycling Emporium independently for more than 40 years.

Her brash manner and unique career choice made her notorious in the local community.

Jail sentence divides local town

Foster butcher, John Davies, said Ms Jackson's children worked for him in his shop.
Recycling Emporium, Foster Sign.Ms Jackson operated the Recycling Emporium scrap metal yard in Foster for 40 years.(ABC Radio National)

"Maria was a larger-than-life person in our community. Everyone knew her [and] everyone here will have their own Maria story," Mr Davies said.

"She sold toasters to trucks. You could find anything at her junk yard."

The six-month prison sentence and $10,000 fine has divided the local community.

"Is it going to change anything to put a 72-year-old woman in jail?" local gallery owner Anne Roussac-Hoyne said.

"Probably not, but Maria had her own often colourful and harsh way of doing things and Robbie Blake has died needlessly."

It is the first time in Victoria that someone has been sentenced to jail for a breach of a workplace health and safety duty provision. - ABC News, 25/1/2020

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