Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s principal inspector Ian Stewart, at the inquest into the Dreamworld ride disaster. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s principal inspector Ian Stewart, at the inquest into the Dreamworld ride disaster. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese

Dreamworld ride’s litany of breaches

A LEADING safety inspector has told the Dreamworld inquest he could have issued dozens of breach notices for the doomed Thunder River Rapids ride if it had continued to operate after the 2016 tragedy.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's principal inspector Ian Stewart wrote a prohibition notice for the ride during his investigation into the disaster.

The move was largely academic as the ride was never used again, but Mr Stewart yesterday told Coroner James McDougall he discovered so many concerns he could have written at least 80 improvement notices if the ride had still been operating.

He cited concerns with the ride's control panel, water level controls, monitoring systems, a gap at the end of the conveyor belt and a reliance on human response to emergency situations rather than automatic action.

Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s principal inspector Ian Stewart, at the inquest into the Dreamworld ride disaster. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s principal inspector Ian Stewart, at the inquest into the Dreamworld ride disaster. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese

He also said he had "no confidence at all in what Dreamworld had in place to save lives" if people fell into the water on the ride.

He said there should have been automatic controls to prevent the tragedy.

Mr Stewart spent 10 days at Dreamworld after the tragedy which claimed the lives of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low, and said ride operators on duty had "a lot of tasks" to monitor in general, let alone in the event of an emergency.

Shane Goodchild (right), father of Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, arrives at the inquest into the Dreamworld ride disaster. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese
Shane Goodchild (right), father of Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, arrives at the inquest into the Dreamworld ride disaster. Picture: AAP Image/Regi Varghese

"You cannot rely on administrative control," he said.

"No matter how you are trained as a human being you can make mistakes.

"You need to move on to engineering controls.

"Either that or don't use the ride."

The inquest has previously heard that operators on duty at the Thunder River Rapids were compromised from having to perform more than a dozen tasks in the space of a single minute.

Mr Stewart's report was grilled by lawyers for Dreamworld's parent company Ardent Leisure, with barrister Bruce Hodgkinson questioning how he could find so many flaws with the ride while an earlier WHSQ audit in 2003 identified no safety breaches.

The 2003 report concluded by stating they "found no evidence of any breach of the Workplace Health and Safety Act" and issued no statutory notices of issues or defects.

Similarly, an independent audit in 2009 did not raise red flags about the ride.

Many of Mr Stewart's concerns about the ride existed well before either audit.



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