Michael Roger Hewitt (Hewitt Cattle Australia Pty Ltd)

Date accepted5 October 2022
Proposed expenditure$55,000

Incident

On 24 November 2018, a helicopter owned and operated by Hewitt Cattle Australia Pty Ltd crashed in Central Australia which resulted in the fatality of one worker and serious injuries to another.

Alleged breach

It was alleged that Michael Roger Hewitt of Hewitt Cattle Australia Pty Ltd failed to comply with the obligations of an officer under Section 27 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (NT) (the Act), contrary to Sections 32 and 33 of the Act.

Summary of work health and safety undertaking

An undertaking given by Michael Roger Hewitt in relation to the alleged contravention of Section 33 of the Act has been accepted by the Regulator as an enforceable undertaking under Part 11 of the Act. The Section 32 charge has been withdrawn by the Regulator.

Mr Hewitt has committed to a range of activities to improve safety systems at the workplace and deliver health and safety initiatives to the agricultural industry and wider community. These activities include:

  • Organising and participating in a training program via an accredited Work Health and Safety (WHS) Registered Training Organisation with the other company managers to increase knowledge on hazards and risk assessments, and safety management systems;
  • Presenting at a Northern Territory Cattleman’s Association event (or equivalent forum) to broaden industry knowledge on WHS compliance and development of appropriate WHS systems for pastoral properties conducting aerial operations; and
  • Funding a feasibility study to assess the viability of a dedicated aviation emergency response aircraft or organisation based out of Alice Springs to service remote communities around the area.

The amount spent on work health and safety activities following the incident was $1,115,434.50 (not included below).

The financial commitment of the activities proposed in the undertaking are:

  • workers or the workplace – $3,000;
  • industry - $2,000; and
  • the community - $50,000.

The financial commitments to the undertaking have a total minimum expenditure of $55,000.

Reasons for regulator acceptance

The regulator accepted the enforceable undertaking under section 216 of the Act and is satisfied that this undertaking offers significant and ongoing commitments to achieve improved work health and safety outcomes and compliance beyond what is required by the law. The regulator believes the enforceable undertaking offers a similar deterrent to a successful legal proceeding and will result in a tangible improvement to safety in the workplace, industry and the wider Territory community.

NT WorkSafe has commenced monitoring the enforceable undertaking to ensure the activities are implemented and will continue to do so until the undertaking is completely discharged.