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  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  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.