Employer pleads guilty over ‘senseless’ death
THE explosion that killed Michael James McLoughlin should never have happened.
Michael's employer, Tri Q Inc, had failed to ensure a work area was safe for the 22-year-old father to weld in.
The not-for-profit organisation pleaded guilty yesterday in the Mackay Miscellaneous Court to failing to comply with a health and safety duty - Category 2.
"It's as simple as this - this never should have occurred," barrister Trajce Cvetkovski, for Workplace Health and Safety, said.
"The harm should have been recognised and it was not."
It was Michael's second day at work. He was welding on a drum that had previously contained "high grade mono diesel oil".
Tri Q had failed to ensure the tank had been purged and then made safe by removing all the highly flammable contaminants, the court was told.
Mr Cvetkovski tendered three images to Magistrate Damien Dwyer - one displayed an area where welding and fabrication should have been performed. Two and three showed the area where it was performed.
Mr Dwyer described the death as "senseless" and pointed out the importance of also checking to see is a person was qualified before commencing any work.
"It was such an obvious error," Mr Dwyer said.
Defence barrister Paddy Cullinane, instructed by Macrossan and Amiet, said it was an error "in good faith".
The company "operated on the basis they believed (Michael) to be qualified".
This was Tri Q's first court appearance since the organisation was formed in 1994.
Mr Dwyer said it was "a very serious first offence".
Mr Cullinane said Tri Q trained and employed people who were disabled to disadvantaged. It wasn't government-assisted or subsidised and had a net profit of $50,000 at June 30 this year.
In 2010, Tri Q received the Mackay Chamber of Commerce medium business award, Mr Cullinane said.
Tri Q, represented in court by Mark Lean, had taken extensive steps since the incident to mitigate any existing or potential "administrative oversights", Mr Cullinane said. "It has been a salutary lesson for Tri Q," Mr Cullinane said.
Mr Dwyer adjourned the matter for sentence.