Woman’s Death Results In Landmark Ruling By Resources Regulator

Woman’s Death Results In Landmark Ruling By Resources Regulator

New South Wales Minister for Resources Don Harwin

New South Wales Watchdog Delivers Landmark Prosecution

Victor P Taffa

Death of a woman in her shower caused by an electrical fault at a nearby quarry outside of Orange in 2014 has today resulted in a landmark work health and safety prosecution brought by the New South Wales Government’s Resources Regulator.

Cudal Lime Products Pty Limited has been fined $900,000 in the New South Wales District Court after pleading guilty to reckless conduct offences for failing to comply with a health and safety duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, a Category 1 offence.

Minister for Resources Don Harwin welcomed the record fine for a company, which marks the first Category 1 prosecution in New South Wales since the introduction of new work health and safety (WHS) laws in January 2012.

“These stronger laws introduced by our Government have delivered the most serious charges in NSW for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act.” Minister Harwin said.

“Our Government and community expect nothing less than the highest standards of health and safety to be demonstrated in the workplace at all times.”

“This should serve as a warning to all companies and employees, if you don’t comply with your obligations you will be held accountable we make no apologies for that.”

A worker at the quarry was also fined $48,000 for failing to comply with the worker’s health and safety duty, a Category 2 offence under the WHS laws.

A detailed investigation by the Regulator’s Major Investigation and Emergency Response Unit found the 49-year-old’s fatal shock was caused by non-compliant electrical work, lack of critical electrical safety devices and damaged electrical plant and equipment at the company’s limestone quarry.

Category 1 offences are the most serious under the WHS Act, with a maximum penalty of $3,000,000 for a company and $300,000 or up to 5 years in prison, or both, for individuals. Both parties received a discount for entering early guilty pleas.