Zinifex fined $65K for workplace death

Tuesday, 09 December, 2008

Zinifex Port Pirie, the previous operating company of the Port Pirie smelter, has been convicted and fined $65,000 for the death of a worker at the facility in October 2004.

Greg Sleep, 45, was struck and fatally injured by a front-end loader as he worked night shift in the Co-Treatment Shed, where ore was being deposited.

The company (now known as Nyrstar) was found to have had breached Section 19(1) of the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986, in that it failed to maintain a safe working environment through a number of failings in its systems of work.

Although Industrial Magistrate Richard Hardy acknowledged that the company had learnt from the incident and improved its safety measures, he found Zinifex's stance — that its safety measures at the time were in excess of what was required — to be unacceptable.

“Further, there is no indication of contrition and acceptance that the defendant has failed to ensure the safety of its employees so far as is reasonably practicable," he said.

“I therefore treat this matter as a serious breach.”

The fine is at the highest end of South Australia's scale for penalties meted out for a single workplace death.


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