Quarry operator fined $180,000 for breaching safety obligations resulting in the loss of a young man’s life
On 25 February 2021 a quarry operator and two of its employees pleaded guilty and were sentenced in the Emerald Industrial Magistrates Court for offences relating to failing to ensure risk to persons from quarrying operations was at an acceptable level.
A 21-year-old worker died from injuries he suffered on 15 November 2018 when he was pulled into the tail pulley of a conveyor. Prior to the incident, guarding – the physical barrier between moving machinery and workers – had been removed, exposing the worker and his co-worker to the hazards present on the conveyor.
Charges were laid against the quarry operator, its site senior executive and a supervisor following an investigation by the Queensland Mines Inspectorate.
The industrial Magistrate imposed a fine of $180,000 on the quarry operator and fines of $45,000 and $10,000 on the site senior executive and supervisor respectively.
In sentencing, the magistrate had regard to complacency at the quarry site and inadequate attention to safety.
The penalties imposed highlight the seriousness with which the law treats employers’ and their officers’ obligations to ensure the safety and health of their workers.
Chief Inspector of Mines, Hermann Fasching said: “the tragic loss of a young worker’s life is a stark reminder to industry of the need to maintain a chronic sense of unease about the safety of their workplaces and practices”.
Last updated: 26 Feb 2021