Family’s emotional plea after electrocution death


THE family of a Tasmanian man who died at his workplace in 2015 have made an emotional plea that his death not be in vain, saying lessons need to be learned to prevent other families enduring the same pain.

Described by his brother as a "larger than life character", Guy Redman Clark died after being electrocuted at Pyengana's Holy Cow Cafe.

Dennis Clark said the family was determined to speak out so that improvements were made to workplace safety in the wake of his brother's death.

Guy Clark, who died after being electrocuted at his workplace in 2015.
Guy Clark, who died after being electrocuted at his workplace in 2015.

"It's about what learnings can come out of it so that some other poor bastard doesn't end up like my brother,'' he said.

It comes as Tasmania's workplace health and safety regulator admitted shortcomings in its investigation into Guy Clark's death, while conceding it needs to better support families of deceased workers.

WorkSafe Tasmania has also referred its investigation file into the death to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a review into and decision on whether there were failures in the duties of the workplace that warrant prosecution.

No charges have been laid.

On the fifth anniversary of Guy Clark's death, WorkSafe Tasmania's acting chief executive Robyn Pearce wrote to his brother on Tuesday making several admissions about the investigation.

Dennis Clark said the family had sought a public apology from WorkSafe Tasmania and while that had not been forthcoming, the letter had resulted in some sense of closure.

Guy Clark, who died after being electrocuted while at work in 2015. Picture: Supplied.
Guy Clark, who died after being electrocuted while at work in 2015. Picture: Supplied.

Mr Clark said his brother was dearly missed.

Mr Clark, who lives in Victoria, said the family was having a virtual catch-up - including a few beers in his honour - on Tuesday night to mark the anniversary of his death.

Guy Clark, who had been promoted from cook to facilities supervisor at the cafe, died when he touched a live terminal inside a dishwasher.

He was removing a coffee machine from the premises to have it serviced, but water began gushing out when he and a co-worker moved it.

The two men put the coffee machine down to find and turn off its tap and as they did so, a water pipe connected to the dishwasher became dislodged.

While Guy Clark's colleague fetched the replacement coffee machine, another colleague heard a "bang" and rushed into the cafe, finding him electrocuted.

Coroner Simon Cooper, in published findings in January this year, was critical of WorkSafe Tasmania's investigation, saying it was "inadequate".

In her letter to the family on Tuesday, Ms Pearce also wrote:

THAT WorkSafe recognised during the coronial inquest into Guy Clark's death that it should have disclosed all materials in its investigation file, regardless of whether it believed they were subject to client legal privilege;

FOLLOWING up the family's concerns about perceived gaps in the investigation of the electrical faults;

A CHANGE in procedure since Guy Clark's death that all workplace fatality investigation files are referred to the DPP for review to ensure prosecutable failures are identified and charges laid if warranted;

GUIDES have been issued to better support inspectors when undertaking investigations, and that WorkSafe had invested in an information technology solution;

Ms Pearce passed on her "sincere condolences" to Guy Clark's family.

"Please also extend my thanks to the family for their feedback on our investigations, and I once more extend my apologies for the additional concerns caused to the family by our investigation,'' she wrote.

WorkSafe Tasmania declined to comment further.

Originally published as Family's emotional plea after electrocution death