Maintenance train death leads to $156,000 fine

Thursday, 22 April, 2004

The death of an electrician who was standing on a platform on the roof of a maintenance train at Grafton in 2001 has led to a $156,000 fine being imposed by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission sitting in Court Session.

Speno Rail Maintenance Australia Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of the electrician under Section 15(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1983.

The court heard that on 3 February 2001, the electrician was on a platform on the roof of the train as it approached a pedestrian bridge over the rail line at Grafton. The court heard that warnings shouted to the electrician by a workmate failed to alert him to the danger, and he received serious injuries to the back of his head from which he died on 8 February 2001.

In imposing the penalty, Justice Boland said: "The defendant had not identified the top platform on the carriage and the pedestrian bridge as a risk at the daily work briefings, and there were no chains or guarding to prevent persons from accessing the platform."

WorkCover Chief Executive Officer, Jon Blackwell commented: "This case is a tragic reminder to employers of the possible outcome of a failure to provide safety systems of work by identifying and controlling risks in the workplace."

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