07:35 am, Thursday 28 August, 2008
Source: WA Today
A worker at an Alcan refinery was “catapulted” to his death on the same day his baby girl “laughed for the first time”, a Darwin court has heard.
Spray painter Daniel Aaron Burman, 33, was hurled 10 metres from an elevated platform on April 23 last year, after the machinery supporting him became unstable.
A second man was injured in the fall at the Gove alumina refinery in north-east Arnhem Land.
Alcan has pleaded guilty to two charges under the Mines Management Act – failing to conduct regular maintenance and failing to ensure machinery was operated by a qualified worker – and faces a maximum fine of more than $1 million.
At the time of the accident, the company was owned by Canadian aluminium giant Alcan, which admitted on Thursday that Mr Burman and his co-workers did not have proper training.
The Alcan group has since been taken over by Rio Tinto.
Alcan also conceded the machine Mr Burman fell from, an 800AJ Boom Lift, was not adequately maintained, with a safety check the day before the tragedy called off because of windy conditions.
“These failures were a cause of the accident which resulted in the death of Daniel Burman,” prosecutor Tom Anderson told Darwin Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
“(The boom lift) hit the ground … the impact had a catapult effect.
“Burman fell out of his harness because he was not wearing it properly. He fell 10 metres to the ground and died almost instantly.”
In a victim impact statement tendered to the court, Mr Burman’s partner Sheree Leanne Russell said their 12-week-old daughter “laughed for the first time” earlier that day.
“I tried to call Daniel so that he could hear her, but his phone went straight to message bank,” she said.
“I did not think anything of it, as I knew that he was working on fuel tanks, so his phone would probably be switched off.”
Ms Russell said she went into shock when she found out about the accident.
“Daniel and I were trying for another baby … We talked about getting married, travelling around Australia and buying our own place,” she said.
OHS News Tip: Elevated Work Platform Work Method Statements
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