The men were laying pipe at the Winterfield Estate housing development in the Ballarat suburb of Delacombe on March 21 when the trench collapsed.

Following a comprehensive investigation by WorkSafe, Ballarat company Pipecon Pty Ltd was charged with two breaches of section 21of 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.
  • Failing to provide supervision to ensure its employees did not perform work in the trench without battering, benching, trench shields or manhole cages.

The matter is listed for a filing hearing at the Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on 4 February 2019.