The Western Australian work safety regulator has commenced a prosecution after a plumber died in a trench collapse in 2018.
This past week WorkSafe WA commenced a prosecution against Ryan and Melissa, a plumbing company trading as Vivian Plumbing and Civil, over the drowning death of a plumber in 2018.
Nambucca Heads Plumber, Ryan Duffus drowned in a trench he was working on at a wastewater site in Mosman Park, Western Australia in October 2018 when it filled with water and sand after a water main burst. He was unable to safely escape.
According to local media reports a deluge from a burst water main filled the trench space around him. His workmates and passers-by frantically tried to help, throwing down pipes for him to use as a snorkel.
Ryan’s fiancée, Anita Condran told Nambucca Heads local media that “Some of them (work mates) jumped in and tried to pull him out. And there was a guy on a big digger that was trying to scoop the water out,”
The company Ryan worked for has been charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and causing the death of an employee in circumstances of gross negligence. The maximum fine of the work safety offence is $2.7 million.
Another party, Badge Constructions (WA) has also been charged as the principal who engaged the contractor (Vivian Plumbing and Civil) with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing the death of a person, with a maximum penalty of a $2 million fine.
“Vivian Plumbing and Civil and Badge Constructions face significant penalties, as should be the case when a young worker has tragically lost his life. Vivian Plumbing has been charged with gross negligence in relation to this incident, the most serious offence possible under the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” Worksafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said.
Commissioner Kavanagh said the trench collapse case was the first to be initiated under the increased penalty regime introduced in 2018.