While charges, fines and prosecutions aren’t the most serious consequences of workplace incidents such as trench collapses, (the human cost is much higher) they hopefully do serve as a deterrent for others to avoid similar mistakes that can have such as tragically high cost of human life.
One such incident involved the deaths of 2 workers who died in Ballarat last year when a trench collapsed. The civil construction company involved has since been charged with breaches of section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company is accused of failing to maintain the battering or benching of the excavation and failure to use trench shields and manhole cages to avoid the risk of engulfment. It also failed to provide workers with supervision.
The incident took place in March 2018 when the 2 workers were laying pipe in the trench at a housing development site. One worker, a 34 year old died on the scene while the other worker, a 21 year old man died in the hospital shortly afterwards.
The court case is ongoing.