The defendant held duties under s. 28 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 being a worker.
On 19 May 2013, the defendant was employed by a company providing amusement rides for events, in this case a school fair. The defendant was operating an amusement ride called the 'Frisbee'. It had restrictions in relation to the height of those riders including that persons under 110 cm were too small and that persons 110-130 cm must be accompanied be a paying adult. The defendant was trained specifically in the operation of the Frisbee and its height restrictions.
A five-year-old boy who was 108 cm tall, attempted to go on the Frisbee. He was told by the defendant he was not allowed as he was not tall enough. He subsequently was allowed on by the defendant accompanied by an eight year old friend who was 130 cm. While the ride was in operation, the five-year-old came out of his seat and was thrown through the air. He landed on the ground after impacting a fairy floss machine, and sustained head injuries including a skull fracture and a bleed in the brain.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on 20 November 2015 to breaching s. 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet his work health and safety duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate Thacker ordered professional and court costs totaling $1083.50. The Magistrate ordered the defendant be of good behavior for 12 months with a recognisance in the sum of $2500. No conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the Magistrate acknowledged the defendant had been in the industry for some time without incident, in particular noting he operated the Frisbee for the last four years. She stated there was a need for general deterrence. The defendant had a long history with his employer and is still employed by it, which demonstrates the faith held in the defendant.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Thacker took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty. He had also shown remorse and made a statement on the day of the incident.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the recreation industry where there is exposure to risks from falls from amusement rides, obligation holders should consider the following.
- Arts and recreation services
- Date of offence:
- Traumatic head injuries
- Brisbane Magistrates Court
- Ms Ann Thacker
- s. 32 of the duty under s.28 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- 12 month good behavior bond with a recognisance of $2500
- Maximum Penalty:
- $150 000
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: