Queensland’s Department of Justice and Attorney-General has announced that an insulation installation company will be charged with offences under its safety legislation due to the death of an employee. This is the first safety prosecution related to the Government’s , failed, job creation scheme.
According to a media statement issued late on 5 May 2010,
“QHI Installations Pty Ltd has been charged with breaching section 30 of the Electrical Safety Act 2002 for allegedly failing to conduct its business or undertaking in a way that was electrically safe.
Charges have also been laid, under section 199, against company director, Christopher William McKay, and company manager, Christopher John McKay, for allegedly failing to ensure the company complied with its obligations under the Act.
The charges follow an incident on 14 October 2009 in which a 25-year-old male worker was electrocuted and his co-worker, an 18-year-old female received severe electrical burns to the left leg while installing foil insulation in the ceiling of a home at Meadowbrook, south of Brisbane.”
This prosecution revolves around the death of Matthew Fuller and the activities of Countrywide Insulation which gained considerable media attention in Australia. Countrywide had subcontracted the work to QHI Installation.
This prosecution is likely to be closely followed by the media, particularly after the Prime Minister was gently pressured to aplogise to Fuller’s family only last week and following a television appearance by the family.
Interestingly not the principal contractor, Countrywide Insulation, has no been included in this prosecution even though there was a clear commercial relationship between the two companies and Countrywide being the company licenced by the Government to participate in the government-funded program.
UPDATE: 6 May 2010
Many Australian newspapers have covered the decision to prosecute QHI Installations. Some have linked the prosecution with the compensation being offered to installation companies who have been harshly treated by the Government’s decision to cancel its rebate program.