A former paper mill operator has been fined more than $1 million following the deaths of two employees at the site. Lyndon Quinlivan and Ben Pascall died of exposure to hydrogen sulphide following a gas leak at the Norske Skog paper mill in Ettamogah in May 2018.
The incident also seriously injured another worker, Tom Johnson, and hospitalised 14 other workers.
Norske Skog was ordered to pay $1,012,500 and create a video for industry education purposes. The company received a 25 per cent discount following an early guilty plea in September last year to workplace health and safety breaches.
Judge David Russell said Norske Skog’s level of culpability was in the high range of seriousness and that the injuries and emotional harm as a consequence of the incident, were substantial.
David Henry from the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union says no level of compensation will amount to the lives that were lost and are calling for the adoption of nationally consistent industrial manslaughter laws.
“It’s the only way that we can foresee that the necessary deterrents are going to be put in place to stop this needless waste of workers’ lives,” he said.