Workplace manslaughter charges laid against related companies

Two lift businesses face maximum safety fines totalling more than $33 million, after being charged with workplace manslaughter under section 39G(1) of the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

Nordic Elevators Pty Ltd and Nordic Elevator Services Pty Ltd are both accused, by WorkSafe Victoria, of breaching the provision by engaging in negligent conduct that caused the death of an apprentice electrician, employed by the former business.

The 21-year-old worker was electrocuted while performing maintenance work, alone, on a car lift at a West Melbourne apartment building in March 2021.

WorkSafe also charged Nordic Elevators with breaching section 21 (“Duties of employers to employees”) of the OHS Act, in failing to provide employees with the necessary supervision to perform their tasks safely.

The regulator similarly laid additional charges against Nordic Elevator Services, alleging it breached section 21, in failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work, and section 23 (“Duties of employers to other persons”), in failing to ensure people other than its employees were not exposed to health and safety risks.

Under the manslaughter charges, the businesses face maximum fines of 100,000 penalty units each, equating to just over $16.5 million each at the relevant time.

The matters are listed for a filing hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on 1 March.

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