Charges laid over chemical stockpiles

WorkSafe has charged a Harkness man over the alleged illegal stockpiling of dangerous goods at five sites in Melbourne’s northern suburbs.


Graham Leslie White, 58, has been charged on summons with 55 offences under sections 31, 31C and 45 of the Dangerous Goods Act.

White faces 11 offences for each of the four warehouses he occupied in Epping and one in Campbellfield.

WorkSafe alleges that White failed at each site to take all reasonable precautions to prevent any fire or explosion of dangerous goods in his ownership, control or possession, or neglected to dispose of them safely.

White also faces aggravated charges for each site of failing to take reasonable precautions against fire or explosion despite knowing this failure could endanger the safety or health of people, property or the environment.

WorkSafe further alleges that White failed to reduce or eliminate the risks associated with the storage of dangerous goods at each site and the risks associated with reactions between the dangerous goods and other substances at each premises.

He is also accused of breaching regulations on placarding, fire protection, spill containment, keeping a prescribed manifest and of failing to notify the Victorian WorkCover Authority of the presence of an excess quantity of dangerous goods at each site.

The stockpiles were uncovered during Environment Protection Authority and WorkSafe investigations in Melbourne's northern suburbs in January.

Each of the five sites that White is charged in relation to has now been emptied of waste chemicals totalling more than six million litres.

The matters are listed for a filing mention in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 17 January, 2020.