Company Fined over Excavation Collapse

Construction companies can learn a lesson from an incident which occurred in Victoria, costing a construction firm $80,000 in fines after an excavation collapse which caused life-threatening injuries to a young apprentice plumber.

The company pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court for failing to provide a workplace that was without risks to health. They were also ordered to pay costs of $3,505.

The incident occurred as the apprentice and 2 other contractors were installing pump tanks at the site about 2 metres away from the excavated basement wall. The collapse left the apprentice partially engulfed and the 17 year old suffered collapsed lungs, 12 broken ribs, a fractured sternum and shoulder and damage to his pancreas. He had only been on the job for 18 days.

A geotechnical report had identified the site as at high risk of abnormal moisture conditions and advised that attention be paid to changes in soil moisture. Before the collapse, the site received 17mm of rainfall.

The court heard that the company, being aware of the risks should have supervised the contractors and prevented access to the site until soil conditions were properly assessed and the wall stabilised.  Find out more

Construction Company and Road Authority Fined over Traffic Controller Accident


A construction company and Victoria’s road authority have been fined $1.55 million for a breach of safety that led to the death of a traffic controller in 2011.

The road authority was fined $250,000 after pleading guilty to a breach of the 2004 Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to maintain a safe system of work.

The construction firm pleaded not guilty and was fined $1.3million for failing to provide a safe system of work, failing to provide workers with the information, instruction and training needed for them to safety perform their job and failing to ensure people other than their employees were not exposed to health and safety risks.

The incident occurred in November 2011 when a worker was struck by a street sweeper during roadworks in Bayswater. The worker did not survive. It came to light that the man had raised safety concerns to the site supervisor in relation to driving of the sweeper, however it was not addressed.

The worker had been employed by an agency subcontracted by the construction firm.

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