Two companies plead guilty and fined almost $500,000 after worker killed in rock-crushing machine

A quartzite quarry operator and a labour hire company have been fined a total of $479,000 after pleading guilty to breaches of work health and safety regulations that led to the death of a 29-year-old man in April 2020.

29 year old Father-of-three, Robbie Westover, suffered fatal head injuries when he entered a rock crushing machine to remove a metal blockage at a quarry near the South Australian town of Truro, 110km north-east of Adelaide.

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Westover was an employee with Taurus Recruitment for five weeks and was working at the Hallet Resources site owned by Kara Resources.

Safe Work SA said in a written statement the risk of injury was foreseeable and the companies had inadequate training and safe work procedures.

“No risk assessment or safe work method was created for this hazardous task,” it said.

“No training was provided to the worker in the removal of metal blockages.”

Father-of-three Robbie Westover with his children. Credit: 7NEWS

Safe Work SA deputy president Judge Rossi said Kara Resources knew the safety risks related to operating a rock crusher and its employees should have been warned about them.

“He, his wife and their three young children were entitled to expect that after each shift of work he would return safely home,” Rossi said.

“The tragic loss of life in this case could have, and should have, been avoided by a simple but firm instruction implemented as a safe work procedure and properly supervised and maintained, which prohibited any worker from entering a Rollercone Crusher to remove a blockage or to conduct any other maintenance work.”

SafeWork SA executive director Martyn Campbell said it was a lesson for other businesses to ensure the safety of their workers.

“You must identify risks and eliminate them. If you cannot eliminate them, reduce the risk to as low as reasonably practicable,” Campbell said.

Ambulances at the scene of the fatal accident. Credit: 7NEWS

The SAET imposed a $650,000 fine on Kara resources which was reduced to $455,000 after a 30 per cent discount for early guilty plea plus legal fees.

Taurus Recruitment was fined $40,000 which was reduced to $24,000 after a 40 per cent discount for early guilty pleas plus legal fees.

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