Case discussion: Capon v BHP Billiton – Part 2 the appeal

Early in 2013 BHP Billiton was convicted and fined $130,000 following a fatality at one of its facilities in Port Hedland. They were also ordered to pay $300,000 in legal costs.

Amongst the reasons for the conviction was BHP’s apparent failure to implement and enforce its own requirements for supervision and risk assessments by workers.

A video presentation and discussion about the case is available by following the link below:

Capon v BHP Billiton Iron Ore PH 1917/11

On 28 July 2014, the Western Australian Supreme Court allowed, in part, an appeal by BHP against the conviction. A key finding was that, while BHP did not enforce or supervise its own processes in relation to JHAs or Take 5s, that failure did not “cause” the fatality.

You can access a copy of the case here:

BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd v Capon [2104] WASC 267

You can also see a video presentation and discussion about the case by following this link:

BHP Billiton Iron Ore Pty Ltd v Capon [2104] WASC 267 – discussion

(There is also an App available if you want to download the presentation to your device and view it later – iSpring Mobile Player)

A key question that comes out of the case – and one that I think has had some relevance for a number of years now is, what value does the JHA process add to our safety management system, and is there a case for removing them from our day to day processes?

At least, it seems that there is an arguable case that the JHA process should not be adopted with such lemming like dogma, and we can consider front line risk assessment processes that actually add value to our business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Case discussion: Capon v BHP Billiton – Part 2 the appeal

  1. On a more serious note.
    If the client micromanages the contractor he runs foul of the courts.
    What happens if he doesn’t micromanage the contractors?
    This is the question my students put to me and I don’t have an answer.
    My guess is that the client will need to do proper audits of contractors’ systems and ensure the contractors comply with their own systems.
    That would require some SERIOUS effort.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s