$200,000 penalty after worker crushed (updated) (Media release)
31 October 2019
Update on the case of a defence contractor convicted and fined $200,000 over an incident that severely injured a worker at a Brisbane Army barracks.
UPDATE: Thales Australia Ltd pleaded not guilty to eight charges of failing in its duties under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, and the matter went to trial in May 2018. Magistrate Daley found Thales guilty of two charges in January 2019 and the company was convicted and fined $160,000 on 27 March 2019. Thales’ conviction and sentence were set aside on appeal to the Queensland District Court on October 18, 2019.
The penalty against Linfox Australia Pty Ltd follows an investigation by federal work health and safety regulator Comcare. It relates to the incident at Damascus Barracks four years ago where an employee of a second Defence contractor, Thales Australia Ltd, suffered crush injuries during the towing of a Bushmaster armoured vehicle.
Linfox pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to ensure the health and safety of workers under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act. The company was convicted and fined $200,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in October 2018.
The incident at Damascus Barracks happened on 22 July 2015.
A Linfox employee was operating a tow motor to move a damaged Bushmaster using a chain. A Thales worker was crushed between the two vehicles when the Bushmaster rolled forward while he was removing the tow chain. He was treated in hospital for a fractured leg and internal injuries.
Comcare’s investigation revealed failures in providing a safe system of work.
Magistrate Judith Daley found that the risks in the job were predictable and serious. Linfox had failed to provide a safe system of work, including using a rigid tow coupling and wheel chocks.
The Department of Defence contracts with Linfox for the warehousing and distribution of its supplies and equipment, and with Thales for the maintenance of the Bushmaster fleet.
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