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Industrial manslaughter charges brought against western Qld abattoir

03/09/2021

Charges of industrial manslaughter have been brought against a western Queensland abattoir and its sole director in relation to a workplace fatality in July 2019.

Queensland’s independent Work Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle has charged Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd and its sole director, Campbell McPhee, with industrial manslaughter under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in relation to the July 2019 death of  employee, Lê Tuấn Nhã.

It is alleged the 46-year-old employee sustained fatal injuries at the Charleville abattoir operated by the defendant company.

After the incident in 2019 a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland statement said the man, a Vietname migrant, was crushed while manually handling goat carcasses, after a conveyor belt which would normally feed them into a ‘de-hairer’ machine stopped working.

The maximum penalty for industrial manslaughter by a corporation is a fine of $10 million. The maximum penalty for individuals is 20 years imprisonment.

Mr Guilfoyle has also charged Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd and Mr McPhee with Category 2 offences under the Work Health and Safety Act for breaching health and safety duties and exposing workers to a risk of serious injury or death. The charges arise from the same incident and carry maximum penalties of a $1.5 million fine and $300,000 fine respectively.

The charges against Western Meat Exporters Pty Ltd and Campbell McPhee will be mentioned in the Charleville Magistrates Court on Wednesday 22 September 2021.

The Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor (OWHSP) commenced on 18 March 2019 and is an independent prosecution office, established by the Queensland parliament under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to conduct and defend proceedings for breaches of Queensland’s work health and safety laws.

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