Farmer fined $16,000 after employee electrocuted
AFTER a serious workplace health and safety incident occurred at Tara, a farmer and his employee are lucky to be alive after machinery hit high-voltage powerlines.
The farmer, Angus Ruthven Wicks faced Dalby Magistrates Court for putting himself and his worker at risk, and pleaded guilty to breaching the Electrical Safety Act (2002).
An investigation by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the Electrical Safety Office revealed the farmer and worker received significant electric shocks when the grain auger they were moving hit an overhead powerline crossing the property.
The court heard that Wicks was operating the auger's controls to drive it into position while the worker was at the other end, directing travel by a jockey wheel, although while relocating it, Wicks did not lower the auger pipe which contacted the power line.
The incident occurred on October 17 last year, and both men sustained serious injuries from electrical shock.
Magistrate Tracey Mossop told the court Wicks should have provided adequate training and instruction to workers on moving the auger, given the location of the overhead line.
During sentencing, Ms Mossop took into account Wicks' early guilty plea, positive character references, lack of criminal history, and slammed him with a $16,000 fine.
No conviction was recorded.