On 26 May 2017, NT WorkSafe announced that Austral Fisheries Pty Ltd was charged over health and safety breaches that resulted in the electrocution of Ryan Donoghue. Enforcement of occupational health and safety breaches should be welcomed but Donoghue died in 2013! Why so long?
NT WorkSafe regret the delay:
“The location of the vessel meant the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and NT WorkSafe potentially had jurisdiction to investigate.”
“The preliminary findings from our investigation were handed to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland after we received legal advice that they had jurisdiction,” Mr Gelding [Executive Director of NT WorkSafe] said.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland completed their investigation on 3 March 2015 and decided not to prosecute. The Northern Territory Coroner held an inquest into the accident in April 2016 and referred the matter to NT WorkSafe for consideration.
Why so long? Jurisdictional arguments and enforcement variation. But didn’t Australia establish a National Compliance and Enforcement Policy in 2011? Yep, found it. Was Work Health and Safety Queensland and NT WorkSafe signatories or supporters of this policy release? Looks like it, from page 13.