Building giant Grocon has been charged with five counts under the Occupational Health and Safety Act over last year’s fatal wall collapse in Melbourne.
Australian building giant Grocon faces more than $6 million in fines after being charged over a wall collapse that killed three people in Melbourne.
Teenage siblings Alexander and Bridget Jones of Melbourne and Dr Marie-Faith Fiawoo, 33, of France, were killed when a 15-metre-long section of the brick wall fell onto Swanston Street in the CBD in March last year.
Grocon said five criminal charges were filed against three of its entities on Monday under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.
Three charges relate to alleged failure to ensure a workplace and the means of entering and leaving it are safe.
Another two relate to alleged failure of an employer to ensure people other than its employees are not exposed to safety risks.
Each charge carries a maximum 9000 penalty units, or $1,261,620.
Melbourne sign company Aussie Signs, which put up an advertising sign on the wall, has also been charged with two similar offences under the Act, each drawing a maximum penalty of $1,261,620.
Grocon boss Daniel Grollo says the company will wait until it receives details of the allegations before responding properly.
“We acknowledge the action taken by WorkSafe given the tragic consequences of last year’s wall collapse and the broad obligations that apply under the Victorian Occupational Health & Safety Act,” Mr Grollo said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We don’t yet know the specific detail of what is being alleged against Grocon or the Melbourne signage company responsible for erecting the advertising sign on the wall, so we need to await further details and legal analysis before we can properly respond.”
Mr Grollo says Grocon’s priority remains to help authorities as they examine what contributed to the wall collapse and identify what needs to be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with the families who so tragically lost their loved ones,” he said.
WorkSafe confirmed the charges but would not comment further as the matter is now before the court.
A preliminary hearing is expected in the Melbourne Magistrates Court next month.
An inquest into the fatal wall collapse has been set for June.