03/09/2020 - 15:33

Landmark prosecution over plumber death

03/09/2020 - 15:33

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WorkSafe has charged two Perth businesses over the death of a plumber in Mosman Park in 2018.

Landmark prosecution over plumber death
The first mention of the case will be heard on October 16.

WorkSafe has charged two Perth businesses over the death of a plumber in Mosman Park in 2018.

Badge Constructions and Vivian Plumbing and Civil could face a combined total of $4.7 million in penalties if found guilty of gross negligence.

The landmark case is the first to be initiated following increased penalty regimes under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 2018.

Ryan Duffus, who was 26 years old, died while working on a construction site in Mosman Park after a water main burst, filling the trench with sand and water.

Penalties for breaches under the Act were increased by the McGowan government weeks before the incident took place.

Mr Duffus was employed by Vivian Plumbing and Civil, which faces up to $2.7 million in penalties if found guilty of a level four offence.

Vivian Plumbing was contracted by Badge Constructions WA, which is facing $2 million in penalties.

The maximum penalty for level four breaches by body corporates was increased from $500,000 to $2.7 million by the McGowan government in 2018.

Maximum penalties for imprisonment were also increased, from two to five years.

In a statement from Badge Construction WA, chief executive Roger Zammit said the company had been working with authorities since the incident occurred but could not make further comment.

“As the matter is currently subject to legal proceedings, we have no further comment at this time,” the statement read.

“Our thoughts in the two years past and going forward, have and will continue, to be with Ryan’s family.”

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said the penalties were significant.

“Vivian Plumbing and Civil and Badge Constructions face significant penalties, as should be the case when a young worker has tragically lost his life,” he said.

“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.”  

The case follows the prosecution of Perth company director Sam Mangione, who became the first person in WA to face a possible jail term over a workplace safety incident.  

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