Australian fishing company and NT WorkSafe reach deal over deckhand death

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An Australian fishing company has avoided court after the NT safety regulator accepted an enforceable undertaking following the death of a deckhand in 2013.

Following investigation, NT WorkSafe charged the company with a breach of Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act over a 2013 incident which saw a deck hand electrocuted when a wave breached the deck while he was using an electric angle grinder. The grinder was plugged into an electrical socket that was not protected by a residual current device.

Under the agreement, the company has committed to spend $967,700 on activities to improve the health and safety of its workers, the NT fishing industry and provide benefits to the wider community.

The company will develop and implement an online learning management system for all its employees, workers and contractors, employ a dedicated workplace health and safety advisor and sponsor the National Seafood Industry Safety Award in memory of the young worker in 2019 and 2021.

They will also employ a dedicated senior executive to help develop and implement the SeSafe project and to develop strategies to engage the broader fishing industry, and contribute and seek to raise up to $1 million to provide extension and legacy support for the SeSafe project.

Executive Director of NT WorkSafe Stephen Gelding said the company has expressed sincere regret for the young worker who died on one of its vessels and the company is dedicated to improving safety across the fishing industry.

“The company has already implemented a number of safety improvements costing more than $200,000 and has proposed a further $967,700 for further industry and community safety improvements and initiatives,” Mr Gelding said

“The SeSafe project will raise awareness and improve safety performance across the seafood industry. The project complements other industry safety initiatives and has gained significant industry support.”

“The accepted undertaking contained a number of activities aimed at improving safety and building the capacity of young Territorians working in the fishing industry, which would not be available through a court-imposed penalty.”

 

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