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John Holland fined following fatality

Media release

 - 11 Nov 2014

Comcare welcomes the Federal Court’s decision to fine two John Holland entities a total of $360 000 following a fatal incident at the Perth City Link Rail Project.

Comcare’s Regulatory Operations Group General Manager, Neil Quarmby said the decision was a reminder to all employers about the need to prioritise health and safety standards at Australian workplaces.

“Workplace tragedies have far reaching consequences and together we can work towards reducing the number of fatalities in Australian workplaces to zero”, Mr Quarmby said.

In December 2011, an incident occurred at a John Holland Pty Ltd workplace, where an employee was struck and killed by an out of control hi-rail vehicle that had been manufactured by John Holland Rail Pty Ltd.

The Federal Court found that John Holland Pty Ltd and John Holland Rail Pty Ltd breached the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 (Cth) in respect to the incident. The Court found:

  • John Holland Pty Ltd failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety of its employees and contractors
  • John Holland Rail Pty Ltd failed to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure that manufactured plant was safe for employees.

In his judgement, Justice Siopis said there was more that both companies could have done to ensure safety in the manufacture and operation of hi-rail vehicles.

Justice Siopis stated that a penalty should be imposed at a high level as a reminder of the need for constant vigilance when it comes to workplace health and safety.

Justice Siopis said this case should serve as a warning to other employers to the same effect “and to encourage the public and employees to maintain confidence in the operation of the Act as a means of protecting the health and safety of employees whilst at work”.

The maximum penalty available to the Federal Court cumulatively totalled $484 000.

Media contact:
Media Manager, Comcare
0478 305 675
media@comcare.gov.au

Page last updated: 11 Nov 2014