22/03/2021 - 15:52

MT Sheds charged over fatal accident

22/03/2021 - 15:52

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An Esperance shed-building company and its director could face fines of up to $3.2 million and jail time over the death of a 25-year-old employee last year.

MT Sheds charged over fatal accident
Both MT Sheds and Mark Withers are due to appear before the Esperance Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

An Esperance shed-building company and its director could face fines of up to $3.2 million and jail time after being charged over the death of a 25-year-old employee last year.

WorkSafe launched legal action against MT Sheds and director Mark Thomas Withers following an investigation into the death of employee Jake Williams and the serious injury of his colleague, Fraser Pinchin, in March 2020.

It is alleged the pair had been installing roof sheets on a farm shed in Condingup without appropriate safety control measures when a gust of wind caused a roof sheet to lift and the pair to fall.

Mr Williams suffered fatal injuries after falling about nine metres from the apex of the roof, while Mr Pinchin fell around seven metres from the roof’s edge, suffering multiple fractures of the pelvis, hip, wrist and ribs.

The state’s workplace safety watchdog now alleges that the offence occurred in circumstances of gross negligence, which carries a maximum penalty of $2.7 million following the introduction of enhanced state workplace safety laws.

The allegation that the company’s gross negligence occurred with the consent of, or was attributable to, Mr Withers' neglect means he faces a $550,000 fine and five years’ imprisonment.

MT Sheds and Mr Withers are also facing a suite of other charges, including those relating to employees not holding the necessary High Risk Work Licences for the work they were performing, and the company allegedly allowing Mr Williams to do construction work without a Construction Induction Training Certificate.

Both MT Sheds and Mr Withers are due to appear before the Esperance Magistrates Court tomorrow morning, but have not yet entered a plea.

Just last year, the Perth Magistrates Court fined Bayswater company Resource Recovery Solutions $330,000 for gross negligence after a labour hire worker lost an arm while using a conveyer belt.

The fine was the largest fine ever imposed in Western Australia and was the first time a business had been found guilty of gross negligence under the enhanced Occupational Safety and Health Act.

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