A NSW maintenance engineer faces up to five years in jail and his bosses could be fined $3 million over the death of a young Canberra building worker two years ago.
The capital's WorkSafe authority says the charges, over the death of 21-year-old Ben Catanzariti, are the most serious to come before a court under nationally harmonised occupational safety laws and send a clear message to employers around Australia.
Mr Catanzariti was killed when he was struck by the boom of a concrete pouring machine that collapsed on a building site in Kingston in July 2012.
The boom had recently undergone a full six-year inspection and the charges of ''category-one reckless conduct'' are against the company that undertook the maintenance and the engineer who was supposed to do the job.
Alternative charges have also been laid for failing to comply with a health and safety duty, and for exposing an individual to a risk of death or serious injury or illness, ACT WorkSafe Commissioner Mark McCabe said.
The charges were brought by the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions after a two-year investigation by WorkSafe, ACT Policing, the NSW Police Force and the state's WorkCover authority, which gathered evidence from across the border
The maximum penalty for a category one offence is $3 million for the company and $300,000 and up to five years' imprisonment for the individual worker.
''Mr Catanzariti's death was a tragic event, for his family, his colleagues and the community,'' Mr McCabe said on Tuesday.
''As unfortunate as the circumstances are, these charges send a clear message about the importance of workplace safety.
''It is a responsibility which cannot be taken lightly.
''Every worker has the right to return home safely at the end of the day.''
The matter is listed in the Magistrates Court on August 26
Another company is facing less serious charges in Canberra's courts over the death of another worker in 2012, a grim year on the capital's building sites that saw four deaths in separate incidents.
Kenoss Contractors, which is now in liquidation, and its acting director Munir al-Hasani have been charged with breaching their duties under the Work Health and Safety Act before the death of truck driver Michael Booth in Canberra's inner-north.
Mr Hasani, the first senior manager to be charged over the death of an employee in a workplace incident in Australia, has indicated he will plead not guilty to the charges.
Under the workplace safety laws, the company could be fined $1.5 million and an officer of the company could have to pay $300,000 if found guilty.
The two other Canberra workers who lost their lives in 2012 were 45-year-old construction worker Wayne Vickery, crushed by a grader on a building site in west Macgregor, and painter David Couch who suffered a fatal fall on a residential job.
The deaths led to the establishment of the ''Getting Home Safely'' inquiry and new powers and funding for the WorkSafe inspectorate.
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