Drayton’s, Perfab Engineering fined over deadly explosion

FINED: Judge James Curtis fined Drayton’s Family Wines a total of $210,000 and ordered them to pay the prosecutor’s costs.Drayton’s Family Wines was keeping a low profile yesterday in the wake of a $210,000 fine over the explosion that took the lives of winemaker Trevor Drayton and welder Eddie Orgo more than six years ago.
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Judge James Curtis fined Drayton’s Family Wines a total of $210,000 and ordered them to pay the prosecutor’s costs after finding them guilty of failing to provide a safe workplace.

Workcover NSW prosecuted Drayton’s and Mr Orgo’s employer, Perfab Engineering at Tomago, in the District Court for two breaches each of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

A Drayton’s Family Wines spokeswoman said yesterday that managing director John Drayton preferred not to comment.

And a Perfab Engineering spokesman told the Mercury that the manager was away and so unable to comment.

Perfab will face a sentencing hearing in December.

The explosion on the morning of January 17, 2008, blew the roof off the Pokolbin winery and the force was felt around the Hunter Valley.

Mr Orgo, 59, a popular man from Kurri Kurri, had been helping to install an upgraded cooling system in the winery.

The court heard he was welding on a stainless steel tank without knowing it contained 9000 litres of ethanol.

Vapours in the tank ignited causing several explosions that killed Mr Orgo and Mr Drayton.

An assistant winemaker William Rikard-Bell suffered serious burns and fell into a dam from where he was later rescued.

Friends of Mr Orgo at the Kurri Kurri Workers Club declined to comment yesterday and said only that they were in contact with his wife Nadia and continued to offer her their support.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.