07 Sep 2015
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has been fined $220,000 following the shooting of two soldiers.
The fine was handed down in the Federal Court of Australia in Canberra last week.
During a night training exercise at the Cultana Training Area near Whyalla, South Australia, in October 2009, a Special Forces soldier was fatally shot in the head and another soldier was wounded by a gunshot to his left arm.
Among the findings, the Court heard that the ADF training manual failed to require that a risk management plan or risk assessment be prepared for each separate training exercise. This led to the implementation of inadequate risk management and assessment, particularly when live ammunition was used and fired.
Also, a number of the individuals failed to meet their employment standards. “Those failures mainly concerned the miscommunications caused by the last-minute briefings and the failure to ensure that appropriately qualified persons were appointed to the relevant tasks involved in the exercises and had been fully and adequately briefed by other appropriately qualified persons,” said Justice Lindsay Foster in his judgment.
The case reinforced the need for employers to take every practicable step to ensure the safety of their workforce, Comcare CEO Jennifer Taylor said in a media statement.
“This is particularly important for work that is inherently dangerous, as is the case with many tasks performed by Defence personnel,” she added.
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Published on 27 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.