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Warehouse collapse kills man. Building company convicted & fined $350,000

 14 October 2011

A structural collapse which killed a man at Dandenong South in 2008 has resulted in a $350,000. fine for a major development company.
The partly-completed steel frame of a warehouse measuring 82m x 240m collapsed and struck the worker on 2 April 2008.
Australand Industrial Constructions Pty Ltd was the principal builder of the project.
It pleaded guilty to a charge laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risks to health.
Sentencing the company in the Melbourne County Court, this morning, Judge Gaynor said the risk to people at the workplace was extraordinarily high and that Australand Industrial Constructions would have been fined $500,000 had it not pleaded guilty.
“In this case, Australand Constructions had management and control of the construction site and failed to ensure there was adequate temporary bracing to ensure the structure was stable,” the acting director of WorkSafe’s construction and utilities team, Allan Beacom said.
“Ensuring partially erected structures are stable, at all times, is a fundamental safety issue in construction.
“There are a surprisingly high number of structural failures where this simple step has not been done, and in every case, people are at risk.
“The incident must act as a reminder to all that fundamental safety responsibilities must be adhered to.
“Even if no one is hurt the commercial impact, project delays and penalties can be significant.
“In Victoria, where there is the added risk of strong winds at any time of year – this measure is even more important.”    
Charges arising from the incident against other defendants are still to be heard.
The charge:
Australand Industrial Constructions Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to one charge of breaching Section.26 of the OHS Act 2004 which relates to its failing to ensure the workplace was safe, to the extent it exercised management & control on the site.