Charges have been laid with regard to the death of a worker who died at the construction site of the Adelaide Desalination Plant in 2010.
In a statement, SafeWork SA has announced that it has laid charges against Ferro Con (SA) Pty Ltd and its responsible officer under the Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Act 1986.
It said that it has investigated the circumstances surrounding the incident and found breaches relating to section 19(1), section 61(3) and 61(4) of the Act.
The charges relate to an incident on July 16 in 2010 when 35 year old Brett Fritsch died after being hit by a steel beam which fell as it was being lifted by a crane.
Prior to the incident, concerns had been raised about safety on the site – particularly with regard to scheduling and the speed of work.
But there has been anger on the part of friends and family and some interest groups that only Ferro, who many see as the ‘smallest player’ in the event, has been charged.
According to media reports, supporters of the family believe a lengthy investigation allowed the desalination plant bosses who should have controlled safety at the plant to avoid prosecution over the incident.
The two year statute of limitations for bringing criminal action with regard to the event expired yesterday, meaning that no more charges can be laid.
In response to incident, the Australian Greens have renewed calls for introduction of industrial manslaughter laws, saying that maximum fines of only $100,000 for an individual and $300,000 for a body corporate for a first time offence are inadequate.
Greens Industrial Spokesperson and Chair of the Select Committee into the Desalination Project, Tammy Franks currently has an amendment before the South Australian Parliament to introduce industrial manslaughter laws carrying a maximum length of imprisonment of up to 20 years.
Ferro, a crane contractor which was part of a larger company, closed its operations in May.
The case will be heard in the Industrial Magistrates Court on a date to be set.