Director sentenced to 2 years imprisonment for workplace death

By 16 June, 2021 June 23rd, 2021 No Comments
  • Director of a shed building company has become the first person to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment under WA’s workplace safety and health laws.
  • Director of MT Sheds (WA) Pty Ltd, Mark Thomas Withers, was recently sentenced in the Esperance Magistrates Court to two years and two months’ imprisonment following the 2020 death of a young worker and the serious injury of another.

Following the death of a young worker in 2020, Mark Thomas Withers, the Director of MT Sheds, was sentenced to two years and two months in jail in the Esperance Magistrates Court.

The incident occurred when two employees of MT Sheds, Jake Williams and Fraser Pinchin, were installing roof sheets on a large machinery shed. There were no safety controls in place and neither worker held a white card nor the necessary high-risk work licences required for the job.

After a willy-willy lifted a sheet from the pack they were working on, Mr Williams and Mr Pinchin fell around 9m to the ground. Mr Williams suffered fatal injuries and Mr Pinchin suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis, hip, wrist, and ribs.

Mr Withers and MT Sheds pleaded guilty to a total of seven separate charges, including one of gross negligence against MT Sheds. MT Sheds was fined $550,000 plus a further $55,000 for breaches of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 (WA), which were the highest fines ordered since penalties were increased in 2018. Mr Withers was sentenced to two years and two months imprisonment and fined $2,250.

These record penalties should serve as a timely reminder to all businesses to make sure they know and are complying with their obligations under workplace health and safety laws.

If you require assistance in relation to any of the information provided above, Pragma’s specialist employment lawyers can provide advice to you and your business to minimise your future risk.

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