Date accepted: 18 December 2015

Incident

On 25 February 2014, an Alcan Gove Pty Ltd worker suffered fatal injuries while attending to a maintenance issue at the Lime Calcination Plant in Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory. The incident occurred while the worker was investigating a faulty reverse closing trap. The worker, who was working by himself at the time, was crushed between the counterweight and service hopper chute.

Alleged breach

It was alleged that Alcan Gove Pty Ltd failed to comply with health and safety duties under Section 32 of the 'Work Health Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act' (the Act).

Summary of work health and safety undertaking

An undertaking given by Alcan Gove Pty Ltd in relation to the alleged contravention has been accepted by the regulator as an enforceable undertaking under Part 11 of the Act. Alcan Gove Pty Ltd has committed to a range of activities to improve health and safety standards in the workplace and deliver health and safety initiatives to the industry and wider community. These activities include the:

  • Introduction of a mandatory 'Human Performance' safety program focused on identifying and assessing the human behaviours that impact safety performance in a workplace and equipping workers and leaders with the tools they need to manage those factors.
  • Production of a training video based on the incident, to be used to communicate the lessons learnt and the importance of isolation in industrial environments.
  • Provision of internal resources to develop and conduct mining safety courses at the proposed Gumatj Mining Centre.
  • Delivery of presentations regarding the incident at relevant industry forums.
  • Provision of funding to community groups to promote or undertake activities related to marine safety.
  • Provision of funding for a subsidised St John's First Aid course for Nhulunbuy residents.
  • Provision of funding to subsidise the cost of specialist health and safety systems advice and support for local businesses.
  • Regulator's costs.

The amount spent on rectifications and activities to date is $806,908 (approximately).

The financial commitment of the activities proposed in the undertaking are:

  • workers or the workplace - $644,560
  • industry - $83,000, and
  • the community - $218,400.

The financial commitments to the undertaking have a total minimum expenditure of over $945,000.

Reasons for regulator acceptance

The regulator accepted the WHS undertaking under section 216 of the Act and is satisfied that this undertaking offers significant and ongoing commitments to achieve improved work health and safety (WHS) outcomes and compliance beyond what is required by the law. The regulator believes the WHS undertaking offers a similar deterrent to a successful legal proceeding and will result in a tangible improvement to safety in the workplace, in the mining industry and in the Nhulunbuy community. 

NT WorkSafe has commenced monitoring the enforceable undertaking to ensure the activities are implemented and will continue to do so until the undertaking is completely discharged.