Defence contractors charged over military vehicle incident

Wednesday 2 August, 2017

Two Department of Defence contractors are facing multiple work health and safety charges over an incident in which a worker was almost crushed by an army vehicle.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has filed a complaint and summons in the Brisbane Magistrates Court alleging Linfox Australia and Thales Australia failed in their duties under the Commonwealth Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The charges follow an investigation by federal work health and safety regulator Comcare.

Each company is facing four criminal charges of failing in their work health and safety duties under the WHS Act, and the maximum penalty for each offence is $1.5 million.

The incident occurred at Brisbane’s Damascus Barracks on 22 July 2015 and involved a Bushmaster protected mobility vehicle used to transport soldiers.

Defence contracts with Linfox for the warehousing and distribution of its supplies and equipment, and with Thales for the maintenance of the Bushmaster fleet.

Two Thales workers and a Linfox employee were towing a damaged Bushmaster to a recovery truck when it rolled forward and pinned a Thales worker between the vehicle and a tow motor. The worker suffered serious injuries.

It will be alleged the Bushmaster was not properly towed, was not secured using wheel chocks and that workers did not receive adequate supervision, training and instruction for the job.

The matter is listed for mention in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 18 August 2017.