Defence contractor to be taken to court over worker’s death

By Anna Macdonald

July 4, 2022

Thales Australia makes Hawkei-protected vehicles for the Australian Defence Force. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

Defence contractor Thales Australia is being taken to court over the death of a worker in 2020 at a manufacturing facility in Victoria, over allegations the company failed its duties under workplace safely legislation.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has filed a single charge in the Bendigo Magistrates Court, following a Comcare investigation. 

It is alleged Thales Australia failed to provide and maintain a safe system of work and failed to provide information and training to workers, alleging it contravened the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. 

On 2 July 2020, a worker was fatally crushed after an unsecured vehicle subframe and base plate, weighing almost a tonne, fell from a paint positioner during unloading at Thales’ Bendigo North facility.

The company makes Hawkei-protected vehicles for the Australian Defence Force at that location. 

At the time, a Thales spokesperson gave its condolences.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic event at Bendigo this morning that resulted in the death of an experienced and highly valued member of our team,” a Thales spokesperson said in 2020, according to the Bendigo Advertiser

The spokesperson added the company would be fully cooperating with authorities. 

With a maximum penalty of $1.5 million, the matter is set to be listed for mention in the Bendigo Magistrates Court on August 18. 


READ MORE:

Defence first Commonwealth entity to be successfully prosecuted under current work safety laws

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