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May 26
Fishing Company charged over 2013 electrocution

​NT WorkSafe has charged Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd with breaching Section 32 the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act after the death of a deckhand on an Austral Fisheries vessel.

This follows a decision by NT WorkSafe to reopen its 2013 investigation into the death of Ryan Donoghue.

On 29 November 2013, Mr Donoghue was electrocuted after being hit by a wave while using a mains powered angle grinder on-board the fishing vessel Newfish1.

It is alleged that Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd failed to mitigate the risk of death or serious injury from electrocution during the use of power tools on the deck of the vessel.

The Executive Director of NT WorkSafe, Stephen Gelding said the length of time it has taken for the matter to be brought to court was regrettable.

“The vessel was outside of Australian territorial waters heading to its home port in Cairns at the time of the incident,” Mr Gelding said.

“The location of the vessel meant the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and NT WorkSafe potentially had jurisdiction to investigate.”

“The preliminary findings from our investigation were handed to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland after we received legal advice that they had jurisdiction,” Mr Gelding said.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland completed their investigation on 3 March 2015 and decided not to prosecute. The Northern Territory Coroner held an inquest into the accident in April 2016 and referred the matter to NT WorkSafe for consideration.

“NT WorkSafe has sought independent legal advice from an interstate Senior Counsel to ensure the question over jurisdiction does not impact on our prospects of a successful prosecution,” Mr Gelding said.

“I hope the laying of charges will assist in providing closure for Mr Donoghue’s family.”

Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd faces a maximum penalty of $1,500,000 if found guilty.

The matter is listed for mention in the Darwin Local Court on Tuesday 18 July 2017.

May 15
Blasé attitude towards safety leads to company fine

​A Darwin crane hire and rigging company has been convicted and fined $11,800 after its company director was videoed climbing a tower crane without appropriate fall protection measures in place on two separate occasions.

Top Development (NT) Pty Ltd, trading as High Rise Crane & Rigging Services, pleaded guilty in the Darwin Local Court to two breaches of Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act for failing to comply with a health and safety duty.

On 2 February 2016 a director of the company was observed and photographed climbing outside the tower crane without a safety harness at a worksite in Darwin’s CBD.

Despite WorkSafe Inspectors attending the worksite and receiving assurances the activity would not occur again, he was filmed the following day walking along the boom of the crane without the appropriate safety measures in place.

NT WorkSafe Executive Director Stephen Gelding said he was disappointed that a director of a company would have such a blasé attitude towards safety, when he should be setting an example for his workers.

“On both occasions, the director was working at a height of approximately 18 to 21 meters without appropriate fall protection,” Mr Gelding said.

“A fall from that height would have serious, if not fatal consequences.”

“I would like to thank both witnesses for being concerned enough to report the incidents to NT WorkSafe,” Mr Gelding said.

“It would have been alarming for both witnesses from their seventh floor office to see such a blatant disregard for safety.”

“Company directors and managers should set the proper standards for their workers, especially young workers; by working in a safe manner and ensuring the company safety procedures are followed.”

The company was also ordered to pay a victim levy and costs totalling $3,500.


Media Contact: Barry Lowe 0447 767 101

May 10
Education provider charged over school sports carnival fatality

The investigation into the 2015 fatality of a student at a school sports carnival on Elcho Island has been completed and NT WorkSafe has charged NT Christian Schools Ltd, operators of the Gawa Christian School, for breaching Section 32 the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act.

It is alleged that NT Christian Schools Ltd failed to comply with their health and safety duty which resulted in the death of the student Jethro Dhamarrandji-Baker.

The maximum penalty for this offence is $1,500,000 for a body corporate.

The matter is listed for mention in the Darwin Local Court on Monday 29 May 2017.

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