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WorkCover NSW has issued a $100,000 fine to the University of New South Wales after a science student was injured in a boat accident during a field trip.

A whopping $100,000 fine has been issued to a NSW university after a student was injured when falling off a boat during a field trip.

According to WorkCover NSW, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) was fined after a 23-year-old science student was injured in a boat incident during a course work-related field trip. General Manager of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson, said the woman suffered severe leg injuries and a broken wrist after falling from a boat near Darling Harbour on July 31, 2009.

"The field trip, organised by UNSW’s School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences, was planned to visit field sites within the Harbour, using an inflatable vessel and a motor boat owned by the University," Watson said.

"The incident occurred when a research assistant, who held a boat licence and was employed by the University, lost control of the inflatable vessel while doing a turn, causing three passengers who were not wearing lifejackets, to fall off.

"At the time of the incident the inflatable vessel had been travelling at a speed of approximately 10-12 knots in a sign-posted eight knot zone.

"The student was injured after coming into contact with the boat’s propeller or hull while the two other passengers who fell from the boat were uninjured.

"An inspection of the inflatable vessel revealed too much weight in the bow caused ‘bow steering’ or inadvertent steering to the left or right."

UNSW was found guilty by the NSW Industrial Court of a breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 (NSW) and fined $100,000 with a moiety to the prosecutor.


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