WA company charged after workers suffer lead poisoning

Thursday, 25 May, 2023

WA company charged after workers suffer lead poisoning

WorkSafe WA has commenced prosecution action against fire assay company Jinning Pty Ltd, after four workers recorded high levels of lead in their blood and one was hospitalised. The company faces two charges of failing to ensure that biological monitoring was conducted on an employee in a lead-risk job, along with two charges of failing to ensure that counselling and health surveillance were provided to workers in a lead-risk job.

Jinning has two locations — Kalgoorlie and Maddington — at which fire assay work is conducted, including determining the precious metal content of core samples using lead flux. Under the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996, an employer of workers who work with lead must provide these workers with counselling, health surveillance and biological monitoring.

Jinning was charged after one of its workers was admitted to hospital to undergo treatment to reduce high blood lead levels. Biological testing of three other workers showed their blood also contained high levels of lead. The company was charged under the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 because the offences occurred between August 2020 and March 2022, before the Work Health and Safety Act 2020 was enacted.

The maximum penalty for each charge is $50,000, with a total maximum fine of $200,000. The first mention will take place in the Kalgoorlie Magistrates Court on 19 June.

Image credit: iStock.com/DarrenTownsend

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