Alcoa could be fined $200K over 2012 Wagerup refinery death

Alcoa has pleaded guilty to breaching safety laws related to the death of a contractor in 2009 and could be fined up to $200,000 later this week.

The ABC reports that Perth Magistrates Court heard Alcoa failed to provide a “scaff bar” across a manhole at Wagerup alumina refinery, despite the worker being previously disciplined for two weeks in 2006 over a related breach.

The 50-year-old worker, Paul Fry from Transpacific Industrial Solutions, had been high-pressure cleaning a tank and fell to his death 25 metres below.

Prosecutor John O’Sullivan from the State Solicitors Office, was reported by the ABC as saying, "the means of remedying the situation would have been simple and cost effective."

Alcoa should also have, according to O’Sullivan, acknowledged “where employees are engaged for 12 hours carrying out dirty, physically demanding and repetitive work, they may not be on their game."

The West Australian reports that defence lawyer Sam Vandongen’s explanation that Alcoa deferred to Transpacific as the experts in the situation, and Alcoa employees were not permitted at the site.

"It is a case of deliberate entry," said Vandongen.

Alcoa’s penalty, which could be up to $200,000, will be given at the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday.

Transpacific was fined $170,500 in 2012 regarding the incident, for breaking federal work safety laws.

Image: The West Australian

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