A cattle musterer who forced a young ringer to work after he suffered serious burns requiring surgery has been ordered to pay the teenager thousands of dollars compensation.
The 18-year-old from NSW suffered first and second-degree burns to seven per cent of his body, which became infected, after an explosion at a remote Northern Territory mustering camp.
Arron Peter Kerr, 25, pleaded guilty in the NT Local Court in Darwin to two charges of reckless conduct over the serious injury of the worker at Montejinni Station, 320km southwest of Katherine.
The injured teen required specialist treatment in Darwin and also suffered gastroenteritis, which resulted in internal haemorrhaging.
The incident happened in 2019 when the teen was tasked with cutting open a 44-gallon drum that was previously filled with Avgas.
It exploded when he cut it with an angle grinder, which created sparks as it tore through the steel.
NT WorkSafe says despite the teen suffering burns to his hands, arms and face, with blisters forming and bursting within 30 minutes, Kerr and another worker, who applied first aid, decided the burns weren't severe.
They drove the young injured worker to the station homestead instead of a medical clinic after ordering him to lie about the incident.
At the homestead, Montejinni Station's operation manager, who held a remote first-aid certificate, assessed the injuries as first and second-degree burns.
He asked the injured worker if he wanted to go to a nearby clinic or Katherine Hospital but the first aider said he couldn't.
The manager advised the first aider how to treat and care for the injuries, including keeping the wounds clean and sterile.
He also said the teenager should be taken to hospital at the first sign of infection.
The injured worker and first aider then returned to their camp where facilities were basic and appropriate medical treatment wasn't available.
This resulted in unboiled bore water mixed with a veterinary antiseptic being used to treat the young man's burns.
Over the next five days, the teen was told to work, despite his condition rapidly deteriorating.
He suffered fever, internal bleeding, cramps and his burns became infected.
During this time, Kerr mocked and verbally abused him, NT Worksafe said in a statement on Thursday.
On the fifth day after the explosion, the teen said he could no longer manage his horse due to the burns on his hands.
He later asked for a lift to the nearest roadhouse so he could seek help.
Kerr initially refused before dropping the teen off at a remote pub about 300km from Katherine.
A bar patron immediately drove the teen to a medical clinic after seeing his injuries.
Kerr was convicted of two breaches of the NT Work Health and Safety Act.
These are the first reckless conduct convictions recorded in the territory.
He was given a two-year good behaviour bond and ordered to pay the worker $20,000.