Historic jail sentence after work accident

Gympie businessman Jeffrey Owen has become the first person to be prosecuted, convicted and jailed under Queensland’s relatively new industrial manslaughter laws.

Owen, was sentenced to five years jail, with parole release in 18 months, over a workplace incident in which his friend was crushed to death by a falling generator, being moved from the back of a truck.

The offence occurred at Owen’s Electric Motor Rewinds in Tozer St, Gympie.

A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation had revealed that on 3 July 2019 a generator was delivered on a flatbed truck and a friend of Owen, Noel Ormes, 60, had been killed when the generator fell on him.

The court was told Owen used a forklift to remove the generator from the back of the truck, but it fell and landed on his friend.

Owen’s conduct caused the death of his friend in that he negligently operated the forklift, which was not powerful enough for the job and for which Owen was not licensed, the court was told.

Safe, alternative methods of unloading the generator were available at low cost at the time, the prosecution said.

Judge Glen Cash sentenced Owen to five years jail suspended after 18 months for an operational period of five years.

Judge Cash said he took into account that Owen had had no prior convictions, was remorseful and had subsequently put in place all necessary procedures and that his friend had put himself in harm’s way.

But this did not relieve Owen of responsibility, the judge said.

Source: Gympie Today

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