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Engineering firm failed to supervise crushed worker



An engineering firm is awaiting sentence after it failed to supervise a worker who was killed dismantling a Victoriancheese factory.

Glen Parsons died when he was crushed by a 770kg condenser at the old Murray Goulburn cheese factory in Leitchville in northern Victoria, in December 2017.

A1 Engineering, which employed Parsons, faces a $1.4 million fine after a jury found it failed to properly supervise Parsons and his coworker, who suffered non-fatal crush injuries.

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The old cheese factory had been bought by a New Zealand company in 2017 and A1 Engineering was one of several companies hired to remove equipment to be repurposed and shipped overseas.

Andrew Buchanan should have been on site to supervise the work, between May and December 2017.

But he was in New Zealand in December 2017 when Parsons, a boilermaker, was arranging the condenser to be shipped.

There were attempts to load the heavy condenser into a closed-top shipping container, but they struggled because of its size and shape.

Parsons and another worker came up with a plan to move the condenser on a hydraulic jack, which was made larger with a plank of wood.

Parsons asked his colleague for a hammer so he could remove the skates from under the condenser, to move it off the jack into the container.

But the condenser fell and crushed the two men.

Parsons was killed, while the other man was a pinned by his legs and arms.

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Defence barrister Ffyona Livingstone Clarke said Parsons was an experienced tradesman and could have been the supervisor.

County Court Judge Damian Murphy said the company had tried to blame everyone else for  its failings at trial and rejected that Parsons could have supervised himself.

"(The company) should have ensured there was a supervisor actively supervising their work," he said.

Parsons' wife Jan said she didn't blame anyone for his death and hopes the finalisation of court processes will allow her to live her life wholly again.

"It really is your worst nightmare when the man you adore and love does not come home from work," she said.

Andrew Buchanan Engineering, the company owned by Buchanan, was fined $300,000 after pleading guilty over its role in Parsons' death.

Judge Murphy will hand down his sentence at a later date.

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