Nelani Koefer
Nelani Koefer Photo supplied

Sunwater charged over weir death

WORKPLACE Health and Safety has laid charges against two companies for the death of Nelani Koefer who was killed when an inflatable rubber dam burst at the Bedford Weir one year ago.

The torrent of water from the dam failure swept Nelani to her death.

The charges have been laid against Sunwater Limited, which owns the Bedford Weir, and Trelleborg Engineered Systems Australia, which manufactured, installed and serviced the inflatable rubber dam.

The charges allege the companies breached section 28 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995 by failing to meet their health and safety obligations as persons conducting a business or undertaking.

Four-year-old Nelani was playing in a small blow up boat at a recreational area at the weir on the Mackenzie River near Blackwater on November 23, 2008.

The inflatable rubber dam that failed was used to raise the height of the weir to increase its capacity.

The complaints are scheduled for mention in the Blackwater Industrial Magistrates Court on December 17, 2009.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland has advised the child’s family that the investigation is complete and charges have been laid.

As the matter is before the courts, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland is unable to make any further comment.

SunWater has released a statmenet saying it has commenced legal proceedings.

A spokesperson says SunWater is reviewing the content of the complaint and awaiting further details from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

"As the matter is currently before the Industrial Magistrates Court, it is not appropriate for SunWater to make any further comment," the spokesperson said.

"As always, the safety of our staff, our customers and the community is SunWater's first priority." 

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