$1.4m paid after worker death leads to sentencing
10 May, 2018 | News
Oceana Gold has been sentenced following the 2016 death of a worker. The mining company was charged under the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) as it was noted that as a PCBU, they failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers.
According to the WorkSafe media release, the worker had been driving an earthmoving machine underground when it fell 15 metres off a vertical edge.
WorkSafe’s investigation found that Oceana Gold had failed to develop and implement a safe system of work for the creation of 1.5-metre-high bunds above vertical slopes.
Interestingly, the mining company had identified and created a solution to reduce the risk, but they had not effectively reduced the risks involved.
The mining company failed to ensure, so far as was reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. Photo by Dominik Vanyi on Unsplash.
What was learnt?
This case highlights the importance of identifying risks and ensuring they are managed effectively.
Craig Marriott, WorkSafe’s Acting General Manager for High Hazards and Energy Safety, said, “Health and safety law requires every business to manage risks to workers. It’s a non-negotiable requirement and this case has highlighted that the requirement extends to the risks inherent in the actions taken to mitigate known risks.”
As a consequence, Oceana Gold have now developed a non-industry-standard procedure to stop an incident like this from happening again by placing steel bollards along open slopes.
What were the fines and payments?
A fine of $378,000 was imposed and reparations of $350,000 were ordered. Voluntary reparations totalling $660,000 have already been paid, and costs of $3,672 were ordered, bringing the total to $1.392m.
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