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Occupational Health and Safety: Owners of Exploded Factory Request Reduced Penalties
The owners of an exploded factory that resulted in the death of three men, have requested their penalties for breaching occupational health and safety practices to be reduced since they have shown good faith in paying out compensation and admitted to the breaches .
Michael Roder SC appeared before a full bench of the South Australian Industrial Relations Court and stated that, while Quin Investments and Nikolai Kazub had accepted they had been in breach of workplace laws, those breaches were not indicative that they caused the explosion.
The explosion resulted in the deaths of Damian Harris, Matt Keeley and Darren Millington and the injuries Cameron Edson and Damian John.Last year, the company and the accountable officer faced a fine of $95,000 for two counts of occupational health and safety breaches; as well as defective equipment that resulted in the explosion.
The parties sought appeal in the Industrial Relations Court in July and it was determined that the evidence was not proof that the defective factory equipment had led to the explosion.But on appeal to the Industrial Relations Court in July, it was decided the evidence did not prove the defective factory equipment had caused the explosion.
The Prosecution stated that while the licenses for explosive manufacturing were surrendered by Quin Investments, Kazub was responsible for the operation of another explosives manufacturing factory in Norther Territory. Prosecutors have alleged that a displaced shaft in ribbon blender had rubbed against another metal surface, which triggered a chemical reaction which led to an explosion.
Ms. Chapman of the Prosecution stated that the company had botched its responsibility of maintaining the safety of its employees on the day of the explosion, and the accused parties’ safety practices were a “potentially catastrophic risk”.
Chapman has expressed concerns for a lack of record for any item in the factory. The ribbon in question had not been monitored in over two decades.Michael Roder SC for Quin Investments and Kazub stated that $20,000 of the fine had already been paid out which should be seen as a good sign of penitence for the unfortunate deaths of the three individuals and the injured parties.
Chapman has requested that the compensation order be upheld and that the same penalty be applied to Quin investments and Kazub.
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