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Mark Longstreath

Jarrod Arthur Hampton, Australia, 2012

3 posts in this topic

Paspaley pearl diver Jarrod Hampton's family seeking answers as inquest into death set down for May

The family of a Victorian pearl diver who died off WA's north-west coast has welcomed the scheduling of an inquest five years on, saying lives continued to be put at risk by alleged dubious safety practices. Jarrod Hampton was working as a drift diver for the Paspaley Pearling Company in April 2012 when he got into trouble in the water off Eighty Mile Beach. By the time he was pulled aboard his boat, its crew was unable to revive him. A 10-day coronial inquest has now been set down to run in Perth in May, with Mr Hampton's parents Robyn and Tony and their two other sons planning to travel from their home in Victoria to attend. Ms Hampton welcomed the announcement of the inquest and said she felt "very optimistic". "We've waited many years to get that news. There was a time we thought we weren't going to get an inquest," she said. "We will learn what they did do and what they perhaps should have done, and what maybe should have been in place." Ms Hampton said the doubt surrounding just how her son died had added to the family's distress. "We only live with the memories of him, and we miss him, and the dynamics of our family have changed forever ... we're overwhelmed by his loss," she said.

 

Family criticises 'archaic' regulations

In the wake of the death, safety watchdog WorkSafe charged Paspaley with failing to provide a safe work environment, to which the company pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000. The Broome District Court heard it took the Paspaley crew between five and 10 minutes to bring Mr Hampton onto a boat, at which time efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. However, no charge was ever laid relation to Mr Hampton's death, and there has been no suggestion the company was responsible. The Hampton family has been scathing of the relatively loose regulation of the pearling industry and the lack of change in the wake of their son's death. "There's been no significant improvements, nothing done that would protect someone's life," Ms Hampton said. Pearl diving is regulated under the general diving regulations rather than commercial diving regulations, and Ms Hampton said the inquest would provide an opportunity to have that reviewed. "All the pearl divers must get a commercial fishing licence, so the WA state does see their job as commercial fishing, and yet they've managed to maintain a very archaic diving regulation, the general diving regulations."

 

Review underway but progress unclear

Both Paspaley and the WA Pearl Producers Association have defended the industry's safety record, pointing out that deaths are very rare and saying improvements had been made in recent years. The State Government said in the wake of Mr Hampton's death that it would review safety regulations, but it appears there has been little progress. A working group was formed by WorkSafe after court proceedings finished in 2015 to assess what industry changes were needed. The ABC understands the group has met several times, and is looking at whether the existing non-enforceable industry code of practice needs to be upgraded to a commission code. Diving guidelines are also being reviewed nationally, a process Worksafe has said could have implications for the training requirements in WA's pearling industry. The WA Pearl Producers Association and WorkSafe have been contacted for comment.

 

Source:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-22/paspaley-pearl-diver-jarrod-hampton-family-welcomes-inquest-wa/8292170

Feb 22 2017

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Thanks very much for posting this update Mark. We are very confident of safety improvement within this industry as a result of the inquest, and if not then we will continue to campaign. I am sure some employers do not appreciate the value of a life let alone an individuals right to a safe workplace.

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On 3/8/2017 at 0:01 PM, Tony Hampton said:

Thanks very much for posting this update Mark. We are very confident of safety improvement within this industry as a result of the inquest, and if not then we will continue to campaign. I am sure some employers do not appreciate the value of a life let alone an individuals right to a safe workplace.

 

Tony,

Please keep us updated of any developments. I know it has to have been a hell of a struggle for you.

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