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$4.5m Penalty for Deaths at Dreamworld

06 August 2020

In 2016, four people lost their lives riding the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld and it was later found, during a coronial inquest, that the safety and maintenance systems at the park were severely lacking.

Four years on, the operators of the park, Ardent Leisure, have pleaded guilty to three charges of Failure to Comply with Health and Safety Duty, Category 2, under section 32 of the Queensland Health and Safety Act 2011 relating to the deaths and having exposed individuals to a risk of serious injury or death. Ardent Leisure faces a penalty of $4.5 million, with each breach carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

The allegations against Ardent Leisure included:

  • The failure to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the provision and maintenance of safe plant and structures, and of safe systems of work
  • The failure to provide necessary information, training, instruction, or supervision to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business

Ardent Leisure has acknowledged the charges and has released a media statement, writing “first and foremost, we again express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low for their loss and ongoing suffering and say sorry to all of the people impacted by this tragedy.” The release continued to detail the steps that the company had taken to address safety at the theme park, enhancing current systems and introducing new ones, proceeding to state that “the new leadership team is committed to continuing to improve and enhance safety systems and practices with the aim of becoming a global industry leader in theme park safety and operations.

The company is also facing further legal action, with more than a dozen others seeking compensation including witnesses, staff and first responders. Additionally, there is a separate class action on behalf of the company’s shareholders who allege they were misled about “safety measures and other matters.”

 

Work Health & Safety Management Systems

A Work Health and Safety Management System (WHSMS) provides a focus on improving safety performance through a systematic approach integrating WHS planning, implementation and review. Establishing a systems-based approach to workplace health and safety assists an organisation to address their duties under the Work Health and Safety legislation; through the identification and assessment of workplace risks and whether the necessary organisational structures, accountabilities, policies and procedures are in place to limit their impact.

Learn more about WHSMS Design, Implementation and Review, or contact Greencap's team of experts for assistance.

 

 

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