Queensland Workplace Health and Safety officials have confirmed that they will proceed with a prosecution of PCYC over the death of 15-year-old Bray Park resident Ben Shaw at its Pine Rivers gym in September 2017.
Ben died under tragic circumstances while he was bench pressing 100kg at the Pine Rivers Centre. A staff member at the PCYC Gym reportedly found Ben about 20 minutes later, pinned under the bar. According to media reports, staff and other gym members rendered first aid before paramedics rushed Ben to Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, where he later died.
At the time of the incident, an existing policy at the gym specified that anyone under the age of 16 must complete an induction with a parent or guardian and be supervised at all times.
The Workplace Health & Safety Act 2011 places the primary health and safety duty on a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU). A PCBU must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers in their workplace. Duties are also placed on officers of a PCBU, workers and other persons at a workplaceBusiness Queensland
The question remains regarding the issue of supervision and what was the appropriate level of supervision?
What is clear from existing regulations in most jurisdictions is that Gym owners are required to provide:
- a safe work environment;
- safe equipment and information;
- training, as well as clear instruction and supervision necessary to protect people from risks to their health;
While many gyms, like PCYC ask users to sign waivers of responsibility, the waivers may not be worth the paper that they are written on if a gym breaches its’ duty of care to its members.
Gym owners are required, under workplace health and safety legislation to ensure plant and equipment is safe for uses and that it is used in a safe manner. It’s not just about having policy and procedures. Gym owners must also provide adequate supervision for personnel using the equipment.
“Following a comprehensive investigation by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, a brief of evidence was referred to the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor,” an Office of Industrial Relations spokesman said.
“After careful consideration, the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor has commenced a prosecution against the Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association for a Category 2 offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with a health and safety duty and exposing individuals to a risk of death or serious injury.”
The complaint will be mentioned in the Pine Rivers Magistrates’ Court on November 8.
Safetysure can assist gym owners to identify and meet their obligations for health and safety.