Kurt Murdoch
Kurt Murdoch File

'Died doing job he loved': Teen crushed to death on worksite

UPDATE:

He was doing the job he loved and eager to please his boss when Kurt Murdoch was crushed to death.

The 19-year-old Maryborough teen was operating a crane at a construction site at Westside Christian College at Goodna when he was crushed between a crane boom and the rear arm of the truck.

It was early on a Wednesday morning when the subcontractor was working alone, he phoned his employer, saying he was struggling to attach a hydraulic line.

Help was on the way, but eager to please his boss, Mr Murdoch continued on with his job.

His crushed body was discovered some time after he was killed.

More than four years later, the company he worked for, Richers Transport, was fined $180,000 in Ipswich Magistrates Court today for failing to comply with health and safety duty.

The scene of the incident where Kurt Murdoch was killed in 2012.
The scene of the incident where Kurt Murdoch was killed in 2012. Sarah Harvey

The company's managing director, Graham Richers, pleaded guilty to the charge on behalf of the company.

Speaking outside court, Mr Murdoch's mother Desolee Cowley and aunt Colleen Mcarthur said they remembered their son and nephew, a keen speedway fan and driver, as a hard working and caring young man.

Mr Murdoch left behind a new fiance, a close family and his twin brother Nathan who Ms Cowley said were like "brick bats and bouquets".

"They are good kids, that was one thing they had in common, the twins were very different but they both had that," she said.

"He was just a really good kid who loved his job and just wanted to do his job."

Ms Cowley said she did not hold Mr Richers personally accountable but felt the company was forced to answer for their actions in court.

"A group of people make a company are responsible and today they've been told they are responsible and there are consequences for their actions," she said.

Ms Mcarthur said her nephew was a "really hard worker and he was very committed to everything he did".

Richers Transport avoided a maximum penalty of $1.5 million for failing to comply with health and safety duty, a situation Magistrate David Shepherd described as "a fairly obvious area of improvement".

Defence lawyer Kerri Mellifont said the company had since stopped jobs of a similar kind and no longer used the vehicle involved in the incident, a move which cost the company up to $500,000 per year in revenue.

She said the company donated annually to the Kurt Murdoch Memorial Speedway event.

"Despite thinking they were doing the right thing, things can go tragically wrong," Ms Mellifont said.

"They do carry with them the burden and sadness of their actions."



Mr Shepherd said Mr Murdoch died "in his enthusiasm" and "tyring to do the best for his employer" but the court process was not attempting to put a figure on Mr Murdoch's life.

"That is clearly not what this is about," he said.

"Nothing the court does can change what happened.

"I have no doubts the individuals that run this company feel this matter very deeply and personally."

Following the decision Mr Richers said the incident weighed heavily on the company and he offered his condolences to Mr Murdoch's family.

"Unfortunately by the nature of our business, we are considered a very high risk industry," he said.

"Like any responsible employer, we want our people to arrive home safely to their families.

"Our company has made measures in place to try and ensure it provides a safe working environment to its employees to also ensure continuous improvements in every aspect of the business."
 

 

BREAKING: A transport company has avoided a $1.5 million fine after a 19-year-old was killed on a construction site at Goodna in 2012.

Richers Transport PTY LTD was fined $180,000 in Ipswich District Court for failing to comply with health and safety duty after Kurt Murdoch was crushed between a crane boom and a rear arm of the truck.

The court heard there were no witnesses to the incident and it was some time before the Maryborough teen's body was discovered at the construction site at Westside Christian College.

The breach was the second of its kind for the company. In another incident in 2008, a man was injured by a forklift load.

Richers Transport managing director, Graham Richers, pleaded guilty to the charge on behalf of the company.

Kurt Murdoch was well known in the Maryborough speedway fraternity. This picture was taken in 2009.
Kurt Murdoch was well known in the Maryborough speedway fraternity. This picture was taken in 2009. Contributed


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