Company fined $40,000 for death of employee

ROCK N Road Bitumen has spent more than $1 million on upgrading its safety management system following the death of an employee.

On November 15, 2010, traffic controller John Halligan died after being struck by a spreader truck at a resurfacing roadworks site at Glenden.

The company pleaded guilty yesterday, in the Mackay Industrial Magistrates Court, to failing to discharge workplace health and safety obligations and was fined $40,000 and ordered to pay $7878.40 in costs. No conviction was recorded.

This is the second workplace death that has put the Mackay-owned company in front of the court.

In May 2008 mother of three Rondell Purcell was doing maintenance on a 16-tonne multi-tyred roller when she was struck by a truck and killed at a roadworks site on Sarina-Homebush Rd.

Rock N Road Bitumen was fined $80,000, and the company told the Daily Mercury it had spent a "hell of a lot of money" on safety improvements. The court heard yesterday the company was sentenced over Mr Halligan's death on the basis they didn't comply with their own procedures. Prosecutor Valentina McKenzie, acting on behalf of the division of Workplace Health and Safety, said there was no communication between the truck drivers and traffic controllers about where the traffic controllers would be and there was no designated area for the traffic controllers working that day.

Defence solicitor Sam Betzien said Rock N Road Bitumen "recognised it had fallen short of the standard" imposed by the Health and Safety Act. She said it was not a case where there were no procedures in place.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer said "procedures were in place, but weren't enforced during the day".

"If they had ensured the safety procedures were in place... this tragedy wouldn't have occurred."

Rock N Road Bitumen has 60 days to pay the fine.



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