Sunwater fined $100k over death of Joshua Blow

Joshua Blow.
Joshua Blow.

SUNWATER Limited has become the third organisation to be fined $100,000 over the death of 20-year-old Joshua Blow in an industrial accident at the Marian Weir.

Mr Blow drowned while working on the upstream side of the weir wall on June 18, 2010, in a watertight enclosure which collapsed and flooded.

Two other workers in the compartment were able to escape.

Mr Blow's body remained there until specialist police divers arrived from Brisbane to retrieve him the next day.

Sunwater Limited pleaded guilty in the Industrial Magistrates Court in Mackay yesterday to failing to discharge a workplace, health and safety obligation.

Two other companies involved in the project, Diamond Civil Pty Ltd and Giles Contractors, pleaded guilty to the same charge earlier this year and were also fined $100,000 each.

During yesterday's proceedings, it was disclosed that Sunwater noticed a problem with the "cofferdam", the watertight container in which Mr Blow and two other men were working, as far back as November, 2009.

A decision was made to suspend the project because of concern about the structural integrity of the cofferdam wall.

But the project resumed in June, 2010, just before Mr Blow's death, on the alleged verbal advice of an engineer who admitted taking assumptions into account.

Magistrate Damien Dwyer said that, in hindsight, Sunwater should have obtained a survey or some written advice that the structure was safe to resume work.

Sunwater was also ordered to pay $10,641 in investigation costs and $1000 in professional costs.

Topics:  joshua blow sunwater

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