Rueben Barnes.
Rueben Barnes. Filefile

Union rep shocked at claim

A UNION representative says he was “gobsmacked” to hear the directors of a company which installed insulation considered a teenage worker who was electrocuted “a friend”.

On Tuesday Arrow Property Maintenance pleaded guilty to breaching the Electrical Safety Act for failing to conduct its business in a way that was electrically safe and breaching the Workplace Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure its workers were protected from falls from height.

The charges came after an investigation following the death of 16-year-old Rueben Barnes who was electrocuted on November 18 last year while laying fibreglass batts in an “electrically charged” roof cavity in Stanwell.

Queensland Council of Unions Rockhampton secretary Craig Allen said he thought the comments from Chris and Richard Jackson in court that they considered Rueben a friend were “insensitive”.

He said if they were friends they would not have allowed Rueben to work without training, at heights, in a house that was electrified and in a situation that was unsafe.

Mr Allen said he wanted the directors to receive the maximum penalty when they are sentenced in the Rockhampton Industrial Magistrates Court today.



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