WA - Two companies fined over death of workers

Thursday, 3 May, 2012 - 10:00
Incidents & prosecutions

Two companies were fined $140,000 over the deaths of two workers during an explosion in Broome in 2008.

The company which runs the Broome depot was fined $80,000 while the transport company fined with $60,000 over the death of these workers.They were also charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment which caused the death of the two workers.

According to The West Australian, the victims, both 51 years old, were killed in December 2008 when a tanker they were standing next to exploded.

In a statement, WorkSafe said the two workers collected two tanker loads of the powder from the depot and delivered it to the wharf in Broome where it was to be transferred to a supply vessel. One of the victims was accompanying the tankers in a car towing a compressor at the time of the accident.

“It was alleged that the transfer of the barite to the vessel could not be completed at the wharf because the powder contained too much moisture, causing it to clog inside the tanker,” said WorkSafe.

While one of the tankers was successfully unloaded, it was alleged that the second tanker was de-pressurised while the inside was manually scraped down and re-pressurised to remove the powder. However, during the final occasion, the tanker exploded and killed the two victims.

“The court was told that the tanker was not maintained in a safe working condition and that it had not been registered with WorkSafe or inspected by a competent person in many years.

“Safety procedures and adequate training had also been neglected, in all probability contributing to the loss of life that occurred that day.

“But the real tragedy is that there were safe systems of work available to both employers that could have prevented these deaths,” said Mr McCulloch.