Record fine for workplace death

AGRICULTURAL company Elders Hycube has been fined $75,000 in the Perth Court of Petty Sessions after a hearing into last year’s death of a 20-year-old female employee.

However, while the fine is a record amount, it is well short of the maximum of $200,000 for causing death by failing to provide a safe workplace.

The company was fined after pleading guilty to failing to provide a safe workplace and, by that failure, causing the death of an employee.

Tammy Mulroney was killed instantly when her head became caught between the moving parts of a hay-baling machine at the Elders Hycube hay supply factory at Brookton on July 11 2002.

At the time the hay-baler did not have barrier fencing or interlocking gates that could have shut down the machine if the gate was open.

The Western Australian Government is drafting legislation that had been developed from changes recommended by the Laing Report on Occupational Safety and Health that will take the maximum fines under the proposed legislation to $625,000.

The new legislation will also introduce imprisonment as a sentencing option in cases involving serious harm or death where ‘gross negligence’ has been proved.


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