Farm operator in rural NSW fined $180,000 after death of sheep musterer

A farm operator in rural NSW has been fined $180,000 after a worker, who was not wearing a helmet, fell off a motorbike while mustering sheep and died from injuries. The business has also had an adverse publicity order imposed, which requires a public notice to be shared in rural print and online publications.

KD & JT Westbrook Pty Ltd (KD & JT Westbrook) was sentenced at the District Court of NSW on 19 February for failing in its duty to ensure the health and safety of workers.

Better Regulation Division Deputy Secretary, Rose Webb said in September 2014, a 20-year-old worker was contracted to muster sheep on a rural property in northwest NSW known as Lake Stewart Station.

“The sheep musterer was riding his motorcycle on 22 September 2014 in a paddock to muster sheep with another worker when they saw two dingoes,” Ms Webb said.

“The 20-year-old chased one of the dingoes but fell from the motorcycle and was fatally injured. He wasn’t wearing a helmet.”

The company was found guilty of the offence after the court found that chasing dingoes was part of the mustering work.

“The fact of the matter is that KD & JT Westbrook exposed its worker to the risk of serious injury or death and failed in its duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011,” Ms Webb said.

“As a result of falling off the motorcycle, the 20-year-old worker received multiple skull fractures that would have been covered by a helmet.

“This outcome shows how SafeWork NSW is committed to keeping businesses accountable for their duty of care to workers.”

KD & JT Westbrook has the right to lodge an appeal.

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