Mining giant BHP Billiton has been found guilty in a Perth court of failing to protect the safety of one of its workers.
Andrew McLaughlin was crushed by a scissor lift in a workshop in Port Hedland the Pilbara region in 2008.
Magistrate Peter Malone today found that BHP Billiton had failed to provide instruction and supervision or implement and enforce a suitable job hazard assessment, which led to Mr McLaughlin’s death.
The company faces a maximum penalty for the offence of $400,000, with sentencing scheduled for March 19.
The company said it would reflect on the legal aspects of the decision and would not make further comment for the moment.
“We would stress, however, that any fatality is one fatality too many,” BHP Billiton said in an email today.
“We remain committed to continually improving our safety performance across our business with the objective of ensuring that our people return home safely at the end of every day.”
In early 2009, the miner had its fifth fatality in nine months at its iron ore operations in the Pilbara and was forced to acknowledge change was needed.
“WA Iron Ore’s safety record has improved significantly since 2008/09,” BHP Billiton said in the statement.
“Of course, no fatality is ever acceptable, and senior management took that commitment extremely seriously and made a number of improvements across the business in this regard.“Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of Andrew McLaughlin.”
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