Quarry owner jailed over young worker’s death

THE owner of a Queensland quarry where a young worker died on the job after getting caught in a conveyor belt has been jailed for breaching health and safety laws.

Seven years ago, at just age 21, Sean Scovell died working at a quarry in Moranbah after the incident involving the machinery that did not have required guarding.

Quarry proprietor William McDonald, his company MCG Quarries and site senior supervisor Tony Addinsall were found guilty of multiple charges of failing in their health and safety obligations following Sean's death.

They faced a Brisbane Magistrates Court trial earlier this year.

Sean Scovell, 21, died in an accident at a central Queensland quarry.
Sean Scovell, 21, died in an accident at a central Queensland quarry.

McDonald was on Friday sentenced to 18 months' jail for the offences and will be released on parole after six months have been served.

Addinsall, who resigned shortly after Sean's death, was fined $35,000 and had no conviction recorded.

MCG, which is now insolvent was fined $400,000.

The court previously heard McDonald made attempts to rectify the safety of the plant following the death, installing guarding and a remote greasing system for the conveyor belt.

In sentencing, Magistrate Penelope Hay said the company and both defendant's breaches of health and safety laws caused Sean's death.

MCG Quarries site senior supervisor Tony Addinsall was fined $35,000 and had no conviction recorded. Picture: AAP image, John Gass
MCG Quarries site senior supervisor Tony Addinsall was fined $35,000 and had no conviction recorded. Picture: AAP image, John Gass

"Had those... been met before the plant became operational or before he went to work... it was very likely nothing Mr Scovell did on that day would have resulted in his traumatic death," she said.

Ms Hay said while the likelihood of a risk arising at the quarry was "low" "the consequence was severe".

She said Sean's actions before being caught in the conveyor "remain unknown" but it was possible he had stuck his hand into the machine to dislodge mud stuck on the roller.

"(The fact) his death would not have occurred but for his own actions does not mean the alleged (workplace safety) contraventions would not have occurred because of his death," Ms Hay said.

Brett and Bonnie Scovell are the Parents of Sean Scovell who died in a workplace accident in 2012. Picture: AAP image, John Gass
Brett and Bonnie Scovell are the Parents of Sean Scovell who died in a workplace accident in 2012. Picture: AAP image, John Gass

She said working in the mining industry was an "inherently dangerous field of endeavour" and there was no way a person's safety could be 100 per cent ensured.

"There is no doubt this has been devastating to the family of Mr Scovell," Ms Hay said.

"There is no doubt this has been devastating to the co-workers of Mr Scovell..."

Outside court Sean's father Brett Scovell said no parent should ever have to lose a child.

"Every day triggers something you hear or see that remind you of your loss. There is no escape from the grief," he said.

McDonald has been granted bail pending an appeal.



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