A Bushfield construction company has avoided a conviction after a worker fell into a trench, sparking a two-hour rescue mission.
Rodger Constructions pleaded guilty in Warrnambool Magistrates Court on Thursday to two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The company was fined $25,000 and ordered to pay $6,642 in costs to Work Safe.
The court heard on Feburary 15 last year, a man was working on a new subdivision in Warrnambool's Younger Street when he fell into an un-shielded trench more than two metres deep.
Ambulance, SES and CFA attended the scene. It took about two hours for the trench to be secured and the man aged in his 30s to be rescued.
The court heard the victim suffered soft tissue injuries to his hips and lower back and spent three days in hospital.
The company's lawyer told the court that trench shields could not be used because of laws prohibiting work near overhead electrical power lines.
He said Powercor had inspected the site prior to the incident and indicated that trench shields should not be used and a mobile crane was necessary to support power lines located directly above the work site.
He said a 20-second video of the un-shielded trench filmed by an employee on February 13 showed three people inside the trench but did not show the cranes and surrounding power poles.
That video was not shown to authorities until after the accident, the solicitor said.
The court heard the victim's Work Cover claim relating to post traumatic stress disorder was denied.
The solicitor urged the magistrate not to record a conviction, stating it would impact on future work and affect the livelihood of the company's 69 staff members.
He said it was the first time Rodger Constructions had appeared in court in its 52-year history.
Magistrate Michael Coghlan said the incident occurred under "slightly unusual" circumstances, where a potential risk was not simply ignored and consideration into how to manage the area had taken place.
He accepted that a shield was not in place due to the location of live power lines but said other safety measures should have been put in place.
A conviction was not recorded.
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