LANDMARK MANSLAUGHTER CONVICTION: $1.3M FINE

Stonemasonry business, Universal Stone and Marble has become the first company convicted under Victoria's workplace manslaughter laws following the death of a worker fatally crushed at a Somerton factory.

The company has been fined $1.3 million for negligent conduct leading to the death of a worker.

The company’s sole director, Laith Hanna, was also convicted and placed on a two-year Community Corrections Order, along with other penalties.

The incident occurred when a 25-year-old subcontractor died after a forklift, operated by Hanna, tipped and landed on top of him.

A WorkSafe investigators found it was reasonably practicable for the company to have reduced the risk by ensuring the forklift was driven with the load as low as possible, reversing down any incline, ensuring others were at a safe distance and not driven across or turned on any slope or incline.

The prosecution marks the first completed under Victoria's workplace manslaughter provisions, introduced in July 2020.

Employers using mobile plant, such as forklifts, should ensure controls such as traffic management plans, effective communication systems, signage, adequate training, and maintenance adherence are in place.

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