Negligent recycler a ‘preferred supplier

A BAYSWATER recycler has remained on a list of the WA Local Government Association’s “preferred suppliers” despite a harrowing history of workplace safety breaches, which included the death of a worker.

Earlier this month Resource Recovery Solutions was hit with a record $500,000 fine for “gross negligence” over a 2016 incident where a worker’s arm was severed at the shoulder after being pulled into a conveyor belt (“Recycler negligent over severed arm,” Voice, July 18, 2020).

The Perth Magistrate’s Court heard that following a 2013 death at the company’s Jackson Street plant, a Worksafe investigation found there were a number of conveyor belts which did not have guards.

The company provided assurances workers did not go near the conveyor belts, but another worker’s arm was broken in one in 2015, leading to an official Worksafe noticing demanding they be installed. It was ignored.

Despite the repeated breaches, which led to the record fine and charges being laid against 

a company director over the 2016 amputation, when the Voice checked earlier this week, WALGA was still listing Resource Recovery Solutions as a preferred supplier.

That means councils can bypass the usual tendering processes and simply appoint the company.

WALGA CEO Nick Sloan said a review of the association’s contract with RRS had been instigated, but wouldn’t answer whether that was in response to a notification from an official source or simply because we’d asked.

But he did say WALGA “follows the advice and determinations of Worksafe WA” and also “responds to member feedback on any related incidents and issues”.

WALGA is supposed to carry out regular audits for “legal compliance, probity, risk mitigation and security of supply”, but despite repeated attempts, Mr Sloan wouldn’t answer whether WALGA’s auditor had been aware of RRS’s history.

He also wouldn’t reveal how much companies pay to be on WALGA’s preferred supplier list, saying they went through a tendering process and it was “commercial information that appropriately retains confidentiality”.

By DAVID BELL

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