Victorian company fined $1,560,000

 

19-May-2020

In 2014 Hazelwood Power Corporation Ltd ('HPC') operated an open cut brown coal mine in the Latrobe Valley known as the Hazelwood Mine and previously the Morwell Open Cut Mine.

HPC had the day to day management and control of the mine and the responsibility for ensuring that in its running of the mine, it did not expose its employees or other persons, such as nearby residents of Morwell and the Latrobe Valley, to risks to their health or safety arising from the operation of the mine.

On 9 February 2014 a total fire ban day was declared with a fire danger rating of extreme, 40 degree temperatures and strong winds in the vicinity of the mine. Embers from nearby bushfires entered the mine and ignited exposed coal on the operating face of the mine.

 

Once the fire took hold of the mine on 9 February 2014 it burnt for 45 days. It was brought under control on 10 March 2014 and was fully extinguished on 24 March 2014.

 

Risks to employees of HPC at the workplace and to members of the public were risks of exposure by the spread of fire into the mine.

 

The offender was found guilty of ten charges and on 19 May 2020 was convicted and sentenced to:

  • Charge 1 - s21 (1)& (2)(c) - risk management – fined $150,000

  • Charge 2 - s23 risk assessment – fined $40,000.00

  • Charge 3 - s21(1)&(2)(c) - water supply - fined $450,000.00

  • Charge 4 - s23 - water supply - fined $110,000.00

  • Charge 7 - s21(1)&(2)(c) - vegetation on northern batters - fined $40,000.00

  • Charge 8 - s23 - vegetation on northern batters - fined $10,000.00

  • Charge 9 - s21(1)&(2)(c) -wetting down batters - fined $160,000.00

  • Charge 10 - s23 - wetting down batters - fined $40,000.00

  • Charge 13 - s21(1)&(2)(c) - staffing level - fined $450,000.00

  • Charge 14 - s23 - staffing level - fined $110,000.00

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