Charges laid following milk processing plant death

WorkSafe has charged a Cobram engineering company, a Bendigo crane hire company and a New Zealand engineer following the death of a worker at a decommissioned cheese factory in Leitchville, near Echuca.

A 59-year-old man was killed and another man seriously injured when a condenser that had been craned into a shipping container fell and crushed them on 6 December 2017.

A-1 Engineering has been charged with six offences under sections 21(1), 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.

WorkSafe alleges the company failed to: ensure 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.

It is alleged the company also failed to: ensure employees were appropriately qualified and experienced; provide a supervisor or supervision to ensure the work was carried out safely; provide necessary information, instruction and training to enable the work to be performed safely; and undertake a risk assessment.

Big Hill Cranes has been charged with four offences under section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure their work did not expose people other than their workers to risks to their health or safety.

The charges allege the company failed to: ensure crane loads were not suspended over people; eliminate the risk of heavy equipment falling while being moved inside the shipping container; ensure that loads were lifted in a controlled manner; and undertake a risk assessment.

The engineer, who was absent on the day of the incident, 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.

The charges allege the engineer failed to, provide a safe workplace and a safe system of work for moving heavy machinery; ensure people were qualified for the work; ensure there was a supervisor on site in his absence; 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.

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