Charges laid over worker death in factory


Tuesday, 10 December, 2019


Charges laid over worker death in factory

WorkSafe Victoria has charged Big Hill Cranes, Cobram-based company A-1 Engineering and a New Zealand engineer after a 59-year-old man was crushed to death and another seriously injured when a condenser that had been craned into a shipping container fell at a decommissioned cheese factory on 6 December 2017.

A-1 Engineering has been charged with six offences under sections 21(1) and 21(2) (a) and two offences under 21(1) and 21(2) (e) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide a safe working environment.

It is alleged that the company failed to: ensure that employees did not work under suspended loads, provide a system that eliminated risks while loading heavy equipment into an enclosed shipping container; take measures to ensure heavy equipment would not fall and ensure that loads were lifted in a controlled manner.

The company also allegedly failed to ensure that employees were appropriately qualified and experienced. The company did not provide a supervisor or supervision to ensure the work was performed safely, or provide the necessary information, instruction and training for the work to be performed safely. The company also failed to carry out a risk assessment.

WorkSafe has charged Big Hill Cranes with four offences under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The charges allege that Big Hill Cranes did not ensure that crane loads were not suspended over people, failed to eliminate the risk of heavy equipment falling while being moved inside the shipping container, did not ensure that loads were lifted in a controlled manner and failed to undertake a risk assessment.

The engineer has been charged with four offences under sections 144(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to take reasonable care as the manager or controller of the workplace. It is alleged that the engineer, who was absent on the day of the accident, failed to provide a safe workplace and system of work for moving heavy machinery, and ensure people were qualified for the work.

It is also alleged that the engineer failed to ensure there was a supervisor onsite in his absence, or undertake a risk assessment of the work required.

The matter is listed for a filing hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 18 December 2019.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/karandaev

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