Com­pany fined $250k

Site fa­tal­ity due to re­laxed safety: judge

The Weekend Post - - News - JANESSA EKERT [email protected] ed­i­to­[email protected]­ face­­sPost www.cairn­ twit­­sPost

A CAIRNS build­ing com­pany has been fined $250,000 af­ter a con­trac­tor fell to his death at a Kan­im­bla build­ing site.

An in­ad­e­quate pal­let bar­rier had been re­moved from a void area in­side a Trout St home the day be­fore Dar­ren MacKen­zie fell 3.2m and was fa­tally in­jured on April 1, 2016.

“There was no eye­wit­nesses and the ex­act se­quence of events that led up to the incident are un­known,” act­ing Mag­is­trate Ter­ence Browne said as he sen­tenced Ben­nett De­vel­op­ments (FNQ) Pty Ltd.

“Dar­ren was a son, fa­ther, a brother and a good mem­ber of this com­mu­nity.

“There is no doubt that the fam­ily will never have all ques­tions an­swered about what hap­pened on this day.

“There is no doubt the im­pact of that day will live on in their hearts and minds.”

The court heard the tragic death was pre­ventable and re- flected the re­laxed at­ti­tude of the fam­ily-run com­pany.

“While there is cer­tainly no sug­ges­tion of reck­less­ness here, this mat­ter pro­vides a telling ex­am­ple of how those im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­i­ties im­posed by the Work­place Health and Safety Act 2011 must never be re­laxed, how­ever tight the mar­gins or short the time frames might be,” Mag­is­trate Browne said.

“Work­ers have the right to ex­pect that their work­place is safe and their safety is al­ways car­ried over ex­pe­di­ency and any need to cut corners or costs.

“There is no doubt that in the im­por­tant re­spon­si­bil­i­ties ex­pected upon them by laws, the com­pany failed Dar­ren and his fam­ily.”

Mag­is­trate Browne said the work at the home was “clearly high risk” and the com­pany’s orig­i­nal safety plan con­tained “largely generic clauses that did not re­late specif­i­cally to the con­struc­tion be­ing un­der­taken”.

“This con­trib­uted to the incident be­cause it re­flected a gen­eral at­ti­tude of the com­pany,” he said.

“Steps were taken to re­move the risk but clearly they fell far short of the min­i­mum stan­dard.”

Ben­nett De­vel­op­ments pleaded guilty to fail­ing to com­ply with the Work­place Health and Safety Act and was fined $250,000 plus $1596.15 in costs, all of which was re­ferred to SPER. A con­vic­tion was not recorded.

“In this mat­ter, the par­tic­u­lar risk was and turned out to be cat­a­strophic,” Mag­is­trate Browne said.

Since then, Ben­nett De­vel­op­ments has im­ple­mented stronger con­trol mea­sures, in­clud­ing proper in­duc­tion and pre-start check­lists, as well as a new con­struc­tion safety plan.

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