Thales charged after worker suffers fatal crush injury

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Tuesday, 26 July, 2022 - 12:00
Incidents & prosecutions

Defence contractor Thales Australia Limited has been charged with breaching Commonwealth work health and safety laws over the death of a worker at a manufacturing facility in Victoria.

Following a Comcare investigation, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed a single charge in the Bendigo Magistrates Court alleging the company failed in its duties under the federal Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

It is alleged that Thales breached its safety duty under the WHS Act by failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work and failing to provide information and training to workers.

The incident happened on 2 July 2020 at Thales’s Bendigo North facility where the company manufactures Hawkei protected vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.

A Thales worker suffered fatal crush injuries when an unsecured vehicle subframe and base plate, weighing almost a tonne, fell from a paint positioner during an unloading operation in the facility’s paint shop.

The charge is a category 2 criminal offence under the WHS Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million, and the matter is listed for mention in the Bendigo Magistrates Court on 18 August.

Thales Australia is a licenced national employer in the Comcare scheme and subject to regulation under Commonwealth work health and safety laws.