Under Victorian law, employers have a duty to ensure that they provide and maintain a healthy and safe work environment for their employees by ensuring compliance with Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) systems.
The law requires that employers seek to eliminate or minimise risks as reasonably practicable to do so.
The Dreamworld incident in 2016 was a heavily publicised and traumatic example of a situation where an employer significantly breached its obligations to both its employees and its visitors.
In October of that year, a raft on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld in Queensland, was travelling along the watercourse when it crashed and got pulled into a conveyor in the unloading area of the ride, killing four individuals. The individuals died from severe internal and external injuries resulting from multiple compressive impacts.
Amongst other things, the coronial inquest into the incident revealed that:
- the Thunder River Rapids Ride was not properly maintained and safe
- there was an inadequate safety system
- there was an absence of holistic risk assessments across three decades
- there was inadequate training provided to employees.
It was further found that the obvious hazards and risks would have been easily identifiable by a competent person had a hazard and risk assessment been conducted on the Thunder River Rapids Ride.
Since the incident, multiple compensation claims have been brought against Dreamworld. These have included compensation claims for damages for pain and suffering as well as loss of earnings by employees who have suffered serious psychiatric injuries from being witness to the accident or being called to attend the scene.
If you would like advice regarding an injury caused by poor occupational health and safety measures, call Redlich's Work Injury Lawyers on (03) 9321 9988 for free advice.