Shipping company pleads guilty over deckhand’s death

A Darwin shipping company has been convicted and fined $190,000 in the Darwin Local Court after the death of the 37 year old deckhand Daniel Bradshaw.

Conlon Murphy Pty Ltd, trading as Barge Express, pleaded guilty on Thursday 13 December 2018 to one breach of Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act for failing to comply with a health and safety duty.

Mr Bradshaw was a fly in-fly-out worker, who worked four week shifts on board the vessel Sammy Express. During his shifts, Mr Bradshaw and other crew were accommodated on board the vessel.

On the morning of 8 January 2017, Mr Bradshaw was found deceased in the water between the Sammy Express and the wharf at Hudson Creek. Mr Bradshaw had multiple fractures consistent with striking a solid object after falling from a height and his toxicology report returned a high blood alcohol reading.

NT WorkSafe Executive Director Stephen Gelding said if Barge Express had monitored and implemented their own safety policies and procedures, in all likelihood Mr Bradshaw would not have died.

“On the day of the incident, no gangway was in place for the Sammy Express, even though the company’s Shipboard Safety Management Manual stated a gangway must be rigged in order to secure safe access.”

“Instead of rigging a gangway, the crew of the Sammy Express were jumping from the vessel onto a tyre which was tied to the wharf as a fender, and then climbed up ropes onto the wharf,” Mr Gelding said.

“It also seemed to be an accepted practice for workers to drink alcohol in the workshop after hours, despite the Barge Express’s fitness for work policy stating no person would be allowed to enter a workplace or carry out work while under the influence alcohol or drugs.”

“I urge all businesses to make sure their work health and safety (WHS) policies and procedures are properly implemented, monitored and reviewed.”

“Hold regular safety meeting to reinforce your policies and procedures and encourage feedback from your workers as part of the review process,” Mr Gelding said.

Barge Express was also required to pay court costs of $1,500 and a victim levy of $1,000.

Charges were also laid against Nicholas Mitchell, Master of the Sammy Express. This matter is still before the courts.

Peter Chan
0401 114 569