A1 Engineering fined after worker crushed to death at old cheese factory

Victorian regional business A1 Engineering has been convicted and fined $250,000 in the County Court after one of its workers was killed while decommissioning an old cheese factory in Leitchville in the state’s north.

Two A1 Engineering workers were inside the container in December 2016 preparing to remove skates from underneath the 770kg condenser when it fell off a jack and crushed them.

One of the workers, 59-year-old Glenn Parsons from Kialla, was killed and another was seriously injured.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Parson’s partner previously told the County Court that every aspect of her life had been affected by Mr Parson’s death.

“It really is your worst nightmare when the man you adore and love does not come home from work,’ she told the court in December 2021.

Jury finds company guilty
A jury in the Shepparton County Court earlier this month found Cobram-based A1 Engineering guilty of failing to provide the necessary supervision to enable employees to perform their work safely and without risks to health.

The court heard A1 Engineering had been found not guilty on three charges: failing to provide a safe working environment, failing to provide and maintain a safe system of work, and failing to provide necessary instruction.

In December 2021, New Zealand engineer and company director Andrew Buchanan was convicted and fined $300,000 over the workplace incident.

Mr Buchanan pleaded guilty in the County Court to two charges of failing to provide a safe workplace.

The court heard the company had been engaged by New Zealand engineering company Andrew Buchanan Engineering to provide labour and engineering support to assist with the dismantling and packing of equipment at a decommissioned cheese factory for relocation to New Zealand.

It heard the work was initially directed by a representative from another company, however, they were not on site when the condenser was moved into a closed-top shipping container with a crane to transport to New Zealand.

Charges against crane operator dropped
A WorkSafe investigation found that A1 Engineering should have ensured that the workers were actively supervised while undertaking the task, that the supervisor was aware of their qualifications and experience, and that their qualifications and experience were appropriate for the task.

Charges against Big Hill Cranes were withdrawn in the Bendigo Magistrates’ Court in April 2021 because there was insufficient evidence to support a conviction.

Source: ABC News

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