A Ballarat-based construction company will fight charges relating to a workplace accident where two men died in a trench at Delacombe in March last year.
Pipecon will face a contested committal hearing at the Ballarat Magistrates Court in December.
At a committal mention on Thursday, Pipecon's defence counsel said it would argue there was adequate supervision and adequate systems of work in place at the time of the trench collapse.
The defence will cross-examine 10 prosecution witnesses during the four-day contested committal hearing.
WorkSafe charged the Ballarat-based construction company on January 9 with two counts of allegedly contravening Section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The charges relate to the deaths of Charlie Howkins, 34, and Jack Brownlee, 21, who died while laying pipe at the Winterfield Estate housing development on March 21 last year.
Mr Howkins' wife, Lana Cormie, and Mr Brownlee's parents, Dave and Janine Brownlee, were in court on Thursday holding photos of Mr Howkins and Mr Brownlee.
Two Pipecon representatives sat in the front row of the court room.
The court did not allow Pipecon's request to apply to have the case heard in the lower court following the contested committal hearing.
The company is charged with two alleged breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act:
- Failing to maintain battering or benching of the excavation and to use trench shields and manhole cages to protect the workers from the risk of engulfment and;
- Failing to provide supervision to ensure its employees did not perform work in the trench without battering, benching, trench shields or manhole cages.
The charges carry 9000 penalty points each ($161.19 a point), and based on calculations carried out by The Courier, it means the company could be fined almost $3 million if found guilty and given the maximum penalty on both counts.
The hearing will be held on December 3.
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