Record fine for sole trader after death of casual worker
An amusement ride business operator has been fined a record $80,000 after a casual worker was fatally crushed while dismantling an amusement ride at a primary school’s Christmas carols event in 2014.
The sole trader pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in the Ipswich Magistrates Court on 22 March 2017. He was charged and prosecuted after staff were found to have worked on a dangerous component of a ‘chair-o-plane’ ride with little action to remove or minimise risk.
Casual worker Brayden Killeen, 20, was killed on 9 December, 2014 after being told to climb the ride and remove bolts from the centre pole, despite having no training on the chair-o-plane.
When he removed the last of the bolts, the centre pole dropped and the young man was trapped by the pole and chains attached to it. He died at the scene from his injuries.
The Court found the business operator did not ensure the health and safety of his workers by not identifying hazards or putting in controls for hydraulic failure during set up and dismantling, and no adequate training or information was provided for the victim to identify possible danger and risk.
“If you expect staff to work with or around dangerous machinery, then you must identify risk and manage it to keep workers safe at all times,” said Head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Dr Simon Blackwood, adding that this was a tragic reminder to always assess risk.
In sentencing the operator, Magistrate David Shepherd noted a guilty plea was made just six days prior to the trial listing and the ride operator only cooperated minimally with the investigation, even though he faced a maximum penalty of $300,000.
The $80,000 fine was the largest penalty issued to an individual in Queensland under this Act. The operator was also ordered to pay court costs of $3,174.
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