PCYC responds to prosecution over teen’s gym death
PCYC Queensland says it is fully co-operating with authorities after being prosecuted by Work Health and Safety over the death of teenager Ben Shaw.
The 15-year-old, from Bray Park, was working out alone at the Pine Rivers PCYC on September 26, 2017 when a weight bar came down onto his throat, trapping him for about 20 minutes before he was found by staff.
Staff administered first aid before he was transported to Lady Cilento Hospital for treatment.
He died at the hospital four days later, on October 1.
"We remain deeply saddened by the passing of Ben Shaw and our thoughts are with his family, friends and our community," PCYC Queensland chief executive officer Phil Schultz said.
"We have co-operated fully with Worksafe Queensland during its investigation and will continue to work with authorities to enable the process to take its full course.
"We recognise this may be a difficult time and remain focused on providing the support that is needed to help our community to move forward and heal.
"As this is a legal matter, we must continue to respect this process and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this time."
Work Health and Safety on Monday confirmed it would prosecute PCYC over Ben's death.
The announcement came just days before the two-year anniversary of Ben's accident at the centre.
It was only after Pine Rivers Press contacted the department for an update that the charges were made public.
Ben's family was informed just hours earlier.
"Following a comprehensive investigation by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, a brief of evidence was referred to the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor," an Office of Industrial Relations spokesman said.
"After careful consideration, the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor has commenced a prosecution against the Police-Citizens Youth Welfare Association for a Category 2 offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with a health and safety duty and exposing individuals to a risk of death or serious injury."
Ben's father Scott said he had mixed feelings about the prosecution of PCYC Queensland.
"It certainly is not a cause for celebration as we still don't have our Benny," he said.
"Ben was an amazing young man, who is still very much loved and missed by all.
"I hope these proceedings address any unanswered questions regarding the matter and also that the appropriate changes are made so that this doesn't happen again."
Ben's mum Dalya recently shared her personal journey since her son's death, in hope of helping others who are dealing with tragedy in their lives.
"The death of your child or loved one is the most devastating and heartbreaking experience, but I learnt through Ben that it doesn't have to be soul destroying," she said.
"The months that followed losing him, were enveloped in a kind of surreal fog.
"Fifteen wonderful years of life with Ben gives me a reason to keep going.
"His gorgeous smile, his cheeky laugh and his crazy sense of humour and passion for making a difference and endless giving - this is the legacy I must continue."
Ben's friends and family celebrated the teenager's life last September, marking the one-year anniversary of his death, at a comedy fundraiser called LOL 4 Ben.
Proceeds raised went proceeds will go to his football club Pine Central Holy Spirit Hornets and mental health organisation beyondblue.
"Smiling in the face of adversity is what Ben would have wanted," event organiser Samantha Binetter said at the time.
"In life and in spirit, Ben has given his all. Being remembered as a loving and caring friend, son and colleague, Ben was a hugely philanthropic teen, often seen funding meals for others and ubers for stranded peers.
"This was solely funded through his part time job which he worked after school and on weekends.
"Ben always wanted to help others and knowing this his parents made his last life choice
count when they agreed to donate his organs to those in need."
The Hornets meanwhile, have introduced the Ben Shaw Memorial Award to be presented to a player who epitomises Ben's character.
"He was fun-loving, would always lend a hand, give up his time and be there for his mates," former club president Sharon Hickey said. "That is what this award is about."
Ben's mother Dalya also started the "Bag Your Boots for Ben" project last year in partnership with Boots for Africa.
Now in its second year, the project collects new or used footy boots that will be sent to children in need in Africa.
"Ben had wanted to go to Africa and he was a massive advocate for helping other people, and he absolutely adored his footy," she said. "So when I was able to find a charity that combined Africa and football, I jumped on it," Ms Shaw said.
Shoes can been donated at Ben's former sports club Pine Central Holy Spirit Hornets Club until October 12.
Ms Shaw said donations after that date would also happily be accepted.
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