Charges filed following army recruits’ injuries

A government agency has been charged with breaching federal work health and safety laws after two army recruits suffered severe electric shocks while doing a training exercise in Victoria.

Following Comcare’s investigation into the incident, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed two charges in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court  alleging the Department failed in its duties under the federal Work Health and Safety Act in relation to risk management and hazard identification, with a maximum penalty of $ 1.5 million each.

The incident happened on 4 July 2016 at the Puckapunyal training area near Seymour in Central Victoria. The recruits were being trained to operate communications systems. They were moving a portable radio antenna into a vertical position when it came into close proximity with overhead high voltage power lines.

The victims suffered burns from the shock. One of the recruits lost consciousness. They were brought to a hospital in Melbourne and made full recoveries.

The matter is listed for mention in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on 6 September.

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