A pineapple farm where a worker was killed last week had previously been investigated over a farmhand falling off a makeshift roofing platform made from a forklift and a fruit bin.
On Wednesday, farm worker Cody Smith, 25, was killed and several people hospitalised after a harvester struck powerlines at the Lake Mary Pines farm at Bungundarra about 15 kilometres north west of Yeppoon.
Six people suffered an electric shock and were taken to hospital after the accident occurred at about 9:30am.
The accident, which is under investigation by Workplace Health and the state’s Electrical Safety Office, is the second associated with the farm in just over five years.
In 2018 Workplace Health and Safety Queensland successfully prosecuted Colin Martin Stevens, a then co-owner of the business who had operational control and management of the day-to-day activities at the farm when a worker was severely injured.
Mr Stevens is still listed as being one of the trustees for the Lake Mary Pines business name, according to Australian Security and Investment Commission documents.
He was overseeing operations in 2016 when a worker was thrown from the makeshift roof repair platform and fell more than 3 metres onto concrete.
Mr Stevens pleaded guilty to breaching the Work Health and Safety Accident Act and was fined $20,000 and ordered not to offend against the Act for 12 months, according to Worksafe Queensland.
The court was told that after the incident Mr Stevens had worked with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Ergon Energy to identify risks and put in place procedures to protect other workers on the farm.
No conviction was recorded against Mr Stevens.
The 2016 accident occurred while the farmhand had been assisting Mr Stevens to prepare a shed for re-roofing after it was damaged in a cyclone.
He had been welding roofing support rails — or purlins — that weighed 30kg to the shed’s metal frame, according to the summary.
It said the farmhand had been directed to work from a pineapple bin that had been lifted up with a forklift.
“The crate was unsecured and rested on the tynes of the forklift. Two purlins caught each other, and the worker attempted to separate them,” a Worksafe Queensland summary stated.
“They fell causing the pineapple bin to tip laterally throwing the worker to the floor below.”
The summary said the “pineapple bin measuring 2.1m and 1.2m wide landed on top” of the farmhand.
It said he sustained fractures to his arms and face and was hospitalised for seven weeks and underwent four surgical procedures.
It noted that prior to starting the job, the worker had suggested a different option of using pallet crates with the tynes placed between timbers potentially making the platform more stable, but this was not adopted.
“The workplace health and safety investigation found little induction or safety training was undertaken with the worker. No risk assessment, safe work method was implemented,” the summary found.
Magistrate Jeffrey Clarke took into account the farming business had been operating for over 40 years without any breaches and that the defendant had made an early guilty plea and expressed “extraordinary” post-incident remorse, the summary said.
It also said the business had “implemented significant safety systems after the accident and cooperated with the investigation”.
The farmhand later attempted to sue the farm business for nearly $1.5 million.
He could not be contacted yesterday.
A law firm representing the man also declined to comment other than to confirm the matter was resolved.
Efforts to contact the owners of Lake Mary Pines were unsuccessful.
A Workplace Health and Safety spokesperson said they were unable to comment because the agency was investigating the latest incident.
Source: ABC News