IRC Fines Primo Australia Scone Abattoir for Gas Fire

The Industrial Relations Commission (‘IRC’) has fined the owners of Primo Australia Scone Abattoir $110,000 after one of Primo’s contractors suffered serious burns on site.

The contractor was injured when he cut a gas pipe that ignited. The contractor, who had more than 40 years experience in cutting concreted, had serious burns to his head and arm when the butane ignited.

Primo had contracted him to cut concrete and metal floors at the Muffett Street factory in 2010. According to the IRC, the fire was ignited due to the sparks from the saw or the gas contacting with metal. A set of stairs that would have made an emergency exit for the contractor had been removed, so the worker had to leap off a concrete slab through a wall.

The contractor had not been told that there was a gas pipe behind the wall and that the gas had not been disconnected before work commenced. As such, it was reasonably foreseeable that the contractor would cut the pipe.

P and M Quality Smallgoods Pty Ltd, which owns Primo Australia Scone Abattoir, pleaded guilty. Justice Roger Boland ordered it to pay for the prosecutor’s costs. Justice Boland said that the company had failed to conduct a risk assessment before the work began. It had failed to follow its own safety procedures, guidelines, and policies.

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