Ride operator fined a record $80,000 for death of worker during a school activity

A ride operator has been fined $ 80,000 following a worker’s death in an amusement ride at Collingwood Park State School’s Christmas Carols in 2014.

The defendant pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 on Wednesday after staff worked on a dangerous component of a “chair-o-plane” ride with little action to remove or minimise risk.

“If you expect staff to work with or around dangerous machinery, then you must identify risk and manage it to keep workers safe at all times,” said Head of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland Dr. Simon Blackwood. “That includes setting up, operating and packing up.”

Magistrate David Shepherd noted a guilty plea was made just six days prior to the trial listing and the defendant only cooperated with the investigation as much as he had to. He accepted that the failure existed even before the tragic incident happened, but the fact that a worker died was a relevant factor and had to be taken into account.

The defendant faced a maximum penalty of $ 300,000. However, the magistrate noted that the defendant had no previous WHS convictions and was a young man wit a young family. No conviction was recorded but the $ 80,000 fine was the largest penalty issued to a person in Queensland under this Act.

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