Boat manufacturer Subsee Explorer Pty., Ltd., has been fined the maximum amount under federal work health and safety laws of $242,000 for supplying an unseaworthy vessel which sank in the Torres Strait in October 2005 killing five people, according to a report from Australia’s Comcare.
Proceedings were started by Comcare in December 2009 following the sinking of the Malu Sara on its journey between Badu and Saibai Islands in which two federal workers and three members of the public, including a 5-year-old girl, drowned.(WCxKit)
The Federal Court ruled Subsee breached the statutory duty it owes as a manufacturer and supplier of plant.
Comcare CEO Paul O’Connor said the sinking of the Malu Sara was tragic because it was preventable.
“This case demonstrates that Comcare will take strong action in relation to significant breaches of the law, no matter where the breach occurs and that workers in regional and remote areas will be protected under federal law," O’Connor said.
“This is the second prosecution by Comcare arising out of this tragedy and the first time action has been taken against a manufacturer. It sends a strong message to manufacturers who do not take safety seriously. These prosecutions are also a timely reminder to the community about the importance of getting safety right as we work towards model work health and safety laws in Australia. The court said that this tragedy falls into the worst category of case. It is the maximum fine that could be imposed by the court and I believe it is absolutely appropriate on this occasion,” O’Connor said.
Subsee, the manufacturer of the Malu Sara, supplied the vessel under contract to the federal government.
The Comcare investigation found the vessel unseaworthy and not safe for its intended use and that while many reasonable and practicable steps were open to Subsee to ensure the Malu Sara was seaworthy, these steps were not taken.(WCxKit)
Earlier proceedings against the Department of Immigration and Citizenship for breaches of federal work health and safety laws over this incident were finalized last December. The Federal Court imposed the maximum penalty of $242,000.
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.
Our WORKERS COMP BOOK: www.wcmanual.com
WORK COMP CALCULATOR: www.LowerWC.com/calculator.php
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR: www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php
SUBSCRIBE: Workers Comp Resource Center Newsletter
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.