Territory Plant Hire, its director, and an excavator operator have been charged over the death of a worker who was hit by an excavator bucket in 2019, with up to five years in jail for both men if found guilty.
NT WorkSafe spokesman Peter Chan said that in April 2019, the 30-year-old worker who was killed, drove a truck and flatbed trailer to pick up a hired excavator from a plant hire business in Wishart.
He said the excavator had a large bucket attached with two smaller buckets and a ripper inside which were not restrained.
“The worker was helping with the loading of an excavator when the smaller excavator bucket dislodged and struck the worker,” he said.
Mr Chan said Titan Plant Hire Pty Ltd – trading as Territory Plant Hire – faces two charges, director, Jason Frank Madalena, also faces two charges, while excavator driver Kim Murray faces one charge, all for reckless conduct under Section 31 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011.
NT WorkSafe said Titan Plant Hire was charged for failing its primary duty, and also for failing to ensure its workplace was without health and safety risk.
Mr Chan said NT WorkSafe alleged Titan Plant Hire knew, or should have known, someone could be seriously injured or killed if allowed to work near the moving excavator.
He said they also allege Titan Plant Hire did not have a system to keep workers and other visitors separated from moving plant. Did not provide an induction or systematically check the qualifications of workers or other visitors before allowing them to operate and load hired plant. And did not supervise workers and other visitors, as they loaded the plant.
Mr Madalena faces two charges for failing to exercise due diligence which allowed Titan Plant Hire to breach its duties.
NT WorkSafe alleges Mr Madalena failed to ensure and then verify Titan Plant Hire had appropriate resources and processes to manage risks..
Mr Chan said Mr Murray was employed by a separate company to load the hired excavator and faces one charge for failing his duties as a worker and NT WorkSafe alleged that although Mr Murray was a qualified and experienced plant operator, he operated the excavator when another worker was in the strike radius of the excavator and within the fall radius of unrestrained excavator buckets.
It is further alleged that Mr Murray could not see the worker when he hit him.
If found guilty, Titan Plant Hire faces a maximum combined penalty of $6 million Mr Chan said.
While Mr Madalena faces a maximum combined penalty of $1.2 million or 5 years prison or both.
And Mr Murray faces a maximum penalty of $300,000 or five years in prison or both.
The matter is listed for the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday 23 June 2021.
NT WorkSafe said the next-of-kin requested privacy and that the worker’s name not be used