Couple says $45,000 won't give them their lives back
A BIRTINYA business has been fined $45,000 for a Workplace Health and Safety breach that nearly cost a man his life, but his wife says no amount of money can make up for their broken lives.
Bruce Hookway, 46, has lost hearing in both ears, the sight in one eye, movement in half of his face and his sense of smell and taste after being pinned under 740kg of glass at Pacific Glass and Security 18 months ago.
Mr Hookway's wife, Jane, who braved court yesterday on behalf of her husband to see the sentencing of parent company Pacific Enterprises (Qld), described the fine as "a slap in the face" and said the accident had taken an immeasurable toll on their lives.
Mrs Hookway, 43, said she and her husband had decided to start a family, but she was now unsure if they would ever be able to have children.
The Hookways have both battled depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the accident.
After three months in hospital and rehabilitation, Mr Hookway is on a disability payment and Mrs Hookway is his full-time carer and unable to work.
"We have to endure pain every day," Mrs Hookway said. "I wake up and say, 'Good morning, honey', and he's got a throbbing headache like he's been beaten.
"He's on major, major painkillers.
"It's taken me ages to get out of bed some mornings, but I do it because of Bruce."
Magistrate John Hodgins, in passing sentence, said Mrs Hookway's victim impact statement had been particularly moving and acknowledged the accident had "severely" affected the couple's lives and was "really quite sad".
Mr Hodgins said he had taken into account the impact on the Hookways, but the fine also had to reflect the seriousness of the Workplace Health and Safety offence.
Workplace Health and Safety contended the risks of unloading the container manually should have been better assessed and a contingency plan been in place when a forklift was unable to finish the job.
The court heard father-of-five Paul Figallo, the owner of Pacific Enterprises (Qld), was remorseful about the accident and had since closed the business.
A far from impressed Mrs Hookway said: "Basically, it's a slap in the face - a $45,000 fine.
"It's not the money side of things. The owner, he's got kids. He's got his family.
"Two years later, I don't know if I'll ever be a mum."