The principal contractor involved in the tragic deaths of two construction workers at Eagle Farm Racecourse in Queensland almost two years ago has today been fined $405,000, for breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).
After pleading guilty at an earlier mention, the company was sentenced in the Brisbane Magistrates Court under section 32 of the WHS Act.
The principal contractor, which had overall responsibility for safety on the construction site, was charged with two offences arising from its management and control at the site and the construction of two foul water drainage tanks.
The court decision is the first of several cases to be heard in relation to the workplace deaths which occurred on 6 October 2016.
Ashley Morris and Humberto Leite were killed while working around large concrete panels which formed the walls for the second foul water drainage tank.
The man in control of the construction site, Claudio D’Alessandro, is facing separate manslaughter charges brought by the Queensland Police Service under the Criminal Code.
Site manager, Michael Crisci, faces charges under the WHS Act, and Crisci and D’Alessandro are due to appear in court on 28 September.
In sentencing Crisci, Magistrate Wendy Cull referred to the need for principal contractors to prepare a safe work method statement (SWMS) for this kind of work.
She noted while the defendant had prepared a SWMS, it was not appropriate for the nature of the work and wasn’t being followed.
Magistrate Cull determined the appropriate sum for the fine was $540,000, reduced by 25 per cent to $405,000, plus costs of $3,179.20, and no conviction was recorded.