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Inquest hears Tasmanian man was moving a coffee machine just before he died

A coronial inquest has heard a Tasmanian man was trying to help his colleague move a coffee machine when he was electrocuted and killed in 2015.

Key points:

  • Guy Clark was electrocuted and died at work in 2015
  • An inquest in Tasmania’s north heard Mr Clark was moving a coffee machine before he died
  • Pyengana Dairy’s former managing director says there’s “no need” for training to move the machine

Coroner Simon Cooper is investigating the death of Guy Redman Clark, 56, of Scamander, to ensure that what happened to him, “doesn’t happen to anyone else” in the future.

The inquest — which began in the Launceston coroner’s court on Monday and is expected to run for five days — heard Mr Clark, who was described as “a very good bloke” and “good golfer”, was employed as a chef with Pyengana Dairy Trading Pty Ltd when he died on October 20, 2015.

Mr Clark’s wife and two daughters listened on as company employees gave evidence.

Nicole Blair, who was the manager of the dairy company’s Holy Cow Cafe at the time, said Mr Clark had offered to help remove the cafe’s coffee machine, which was due to be serviced, and replace it with another one on the morning of his death.

“I knew how to disconnect the power, but not the water,” Ms Blair said.

She told the court another employee had offered assistance, but “Guy responded that he knew what he was doing”.

The inquest heard Mr Clark assumed the tap to cut off the coffee machine’s water supply was behind the cafe’s dishwasher, so he and another employee, Jamie McKimmie, moved the dishwasher to find out.

When the dishwasher was moved, its wastewater pipe came out.

The inquest heard Mr Clark then removed the bottom front panel of the dishwasher, which exposed its electrical wiring, while he was trying to fix the disconnected pipe.

Mr McKimmie told the coroner he’d left Mr Clark on his own while he went to retrieve the replacement coffee machine from a storage shed when another employee yelled for help — so he rushed back.

“I saw Guy lying there with his arm stuck underneath (the dishwasher),” Mr McKimmie said.

“His face was blue … I yelled out for an ambulance to be called.”

The inquest heard the power to the coffee machine had been disconnected earlier in the morning, but the power to the dishwasher had not.

“Once the power was turned off I moved his arm from under the dishwashing machine,” Mr McKimmie said.

“(There was) no water, just two marks on his arm where he’d been electrocuted.”

The court heard three staff, including the company’s managing director Gregory Gibson and a nurse who was visiting the area, performed CPR on Mr Clark while they waited “a couple of hours” for an ambulance to arrive in the remote location.

No coffee machine removal training — inquest hears

Mr Gibson, who left the company a year after the incident, told the court most employees were shown where the tap to turn off the cafe’s water supply was on their induction.

He said the tap was in the cellar of the building underneath the cafe.

“I believe that he (Mr Clark) would have known, but if you’re under pressure you forget things,” Mr Gibson said.

He said employees were never taught how to change the coffee machine.

“There was no need for training of a removal of a coffee machine,” Mr Gibson said.

“I myself had moved the coffee machine (in the past). It’s not a difficult appliance to move. It disconnects at the power point and the hose.”

Mr Gibson said there was no need for the dishwasher to be moved when staff were moving the coffee machine.

The company was owned by Jon and Lyndall Healey at the time of the death.

The company and all its assets were sold to TasFoods in 2017.

No charges have ever been laid over the workplace incident.


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