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$360,000 in penalties after worker crushed

Media release

 - 28 Mar 2019

Two Defence contractors have been convicted and fined a total of $360,000 over an incident that severely injured a worker at a Brisbane Army barracks.

The penalties against Thales Australia Ltd and Linfox Australia Pty Ltd follow an investigation by federal work health and safety regulator Comcare. They relate to the incident at Damascus Barracks almost four years ago where a Thales employee suffered crush injuries during the towing of a Bushmaster armoured vehicle.

Comcare Acting CEO Lynette MacLean said the incident was preventable.

“The convictions and penalties emphasise the importance of acting on foreseeable risks and ensuring employees get all the information they need to do the job safely,” Ms MacLean said.

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.

Thales pleaded not guilty to four charges of failing in its work health and safety duties. The matter went to trial in May 2018.

Magistrate Judith Daley found Thales guilty of two charges in January. In the Magistrates Court yesterday, the company was convicted and fined $160,000.

The incident 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 and instructing workers how to carry out the towing operation safely.

Magistrate Daley found that the risks in the job were predictable and serious. Linfox failed to provide a safe system of work, including using a rigid tow coupling and wheel chocks, while Thales failed to provide adequate information and instruction to workers.

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.

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

Page last updated: 28 Mar 2019