A Darwin amusement ride operator has pleaded guilty to charges stemming from the 2019 Freds Pass Show crash that injured a woman and a child, with the Darwin Local Court ordering he pay only a small percentage of what could have been a maximum fine of more than a million dollars.
Tyrone Troy Taylor has been ordered to pay a total financial penalty of $30,000 – including $10,000 each to the two injured passengers, and another $10,000 for his fine. Additionally, he is required to pay a victim’s levy of $450.
On May 18, 2019, a 61-year-old woman, who was the only adult on the ride, and a child were injured after an arm from the ‘Octopus Ride’ broke leading to a part of the ride that carries people falling to the ground.
The woman was transported to Palmerston hospital with minor injuries.
Eight other kids were stuck on the ride. Some were taken down by ladder and some were lifted down by a scissor lift.
St John’s Ambulance paramedics assessed the victims and said at the time that the rescue took about half an hour.
Mr Taylor pleaded guilty to breaching two Category 2 charges under Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act), for exposing the two injured passengers to a risk of serious injury or death.
He also pleaded guilty to one Category 3 charge for putting at risk the health and safety of the other passengers on the ride, which included children, and nearby bystanders.
The court also ordered Mr Taylor to forfeit the Octopus Ride to the Northern Territory for destruction.
An NT WorkSafe investigation revealed that Mr Taylor had not complied with the mandatory annual inspection and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) requirements, and there was no evidence that the ride had ever undergone a major inspection, even though Mr Taylor took ownership of the secondhand ride in 2003.
Independent reports commissioned by NT WorkSafe found the sweep arms and tension rods of the ride had pre-existing cracks, corrosion and poor welds which compromised the structural integrity of the ride.
NT Work Health and Safety Regulator Bill Esteves urged Territory businesses who own and operate machinery, equipment, appliances, containers, implements and to prioritize maintaining of their equipment.
“Please take stock of the fact that members of our community were seriously injured by this incident,” Mr Esteves said.
“Proactive service, maintenance and inspection schedules are known ways of making sure you don’t miss an issue with your plant which might put, your workers and members of our community at risk.
“It is imperative that large and heavy machinery, which the Octopus Ride was, is safe to use and operate because plant of this kind is capable of causing serious injury or death in the event of structural failure.
On May 17, 2021, NT WorkSafe charged Mr Taylor with four breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
Initially, NT WorkSafe said if found guilty of all four charges, Mr Taylor faced a combined maximum penalty of $1.2 million
He is now obligated to pay only three per cent of that amount.