Failure to provide a safe working environment has cost global miner BHP Billiton some $130,000 as a Perth court ordered it to pay the amount to the family of a worker who died in July 2008 at its Port Hedland iron ore operations in Western Australia.
The worker, Andrew McLaughlin, was crushed to death in a scissor lift five years ago. The Perth court ruled it would have been avoided had BHP implemented enough measures that would lay out a suitable job hazard assessment on the site.
Magistrate Peter Malone released the verdict last February.
Aside from the amount, BHP was also ordered to pay $300,000 in legal costs.
Simon Ridge, WA's state mining engineer, expressed satisfaction over the court ruling.
"We have wide ranging powers, you shouldn't underestimate those powers," he was quoted by ABC News.
"There is a process that society has put in place to deal with breaches of the laws and we have powers to enforce those laws and to take action when a significant breach of those laws is made."
Spurred by the traffic death, WA's Department of Mines and Petroleum immediately conducted an investigation into the matter to check on whose burden lies the gross neglect that happened on the site.
The ruling should "send a strong warning."
"The department will hold those who aren't doing the right thing to account," Mr Ridge said.
BHP said it acknowledges the ruling.
"The company will take time to reflect on the decision and penalty," BHP said in a statement.
"We remain committed to continually improving our safety performance across our business with the objective of ensuring that our people return home safely at the end of every day."
To report problems or to leave feedback about this article, e-mail:
To contact the editor, e-mail: