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

Jail term sought over fatal quarry accident

A MAGISTRATE has been asked to jail the boss of a company that operated a quarry where a young worker died seven years ago.

MCG Quarries Pty Ltd today faced three charges of failing to discharge health and safety obligations in Brisbane Magistrates Court.

It is alleged the failure of the installation of guard panels on a conveyor belt in the quarry resulted in Sean Scovell's death in 2012.

Mr Scovell, 21, was killed instantly about 7.10pm on June 5, 2012, at the South Moranbah Quarry in central Queensland, when his hand became caught in a running conveyor belt that did not have a safety guard.

"There never was any guarding, not in the design, not in any time in installation, until the incident occurred," prosecutor Glen Rice QC told the court.

Mr Rice told magistrate Penelope Hay that MCG managing director William McDonald had prioritised commercial interests over safety concerns.

He asked the magistrate to impose a term of imprisonment for McDonald, and to fine the company's chief executive Tony Addinsall.

Sean Scovell’s parents Brett and Bonnie Scovell
Sean Scovell’s parents Brett and Bonnie Scovell

Mr Rice said they were both aware there was no commissioning in place which would have checked for safety hazards, after Mr McDonald cancelled the commissioning plans saying he would instead get it done internally.

"He (McDonald) knew he had personally cancelled the commissioning and had not replaced it," he said.

"It's a clear case of prioritising commercial interest over safety interest.

"Having personally cancelled the commissioning arrangement...although he didn't know of the absence of guarding...but (he) consciously knew the risk by not running the commission."

MCG Quarries' defence lawyer Angus Scott asked that imprisonment be imposed as a last resort, claiming his clients were remorseful over the incident.

"It's unprecedented for someone to spend time in custody for offences of this kind," he said.

Mr Scott said significant steps had been taken since the incident, including changes that went "over and above" what was required.

He said MCG had set up the system of the remote greasing of the bearing, and that McDonald had personally driven to Mr Scovell's parents' home to deliver his belongings.

Ms Hay adjourned the case until next Tuesday for review, further extending the already lengthy trial.



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