The death of a plumber, who drowned in a trench, has prompted WorkSafe WA to prosecute two companies.
Ryan Duffus, 26, was working at a site in Mosman Park in October 2018 when a main burst, causing the trench to fill with water and sand.
Some people attempted to pull him out, while others threw pipes in for him to use as a snorkel, but he could not be saved.
Ryan and Melissa, trading as Vivian Plumbing and Civil, has been charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment, causing the death of an employee in circumstances of gross negligence. The maximum penalty is a $2.7 million fine.
Badge Constructions WA has been charged with a similar offence as the principal that engaged the contractor, and faces a maximum $2 million fine.
WorkSafe WA commissioner Darren Kavanagh said it was the first case initiated under the increased penalty regime introduced in 2018.
“A young worker has tragically lost his life,” he said.
“Vivian Plumbing has been charged with gross negligence in relation to this incident – the most serious offence possible under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
The case will go to Perth Magistrates Court on October 16.
WA’s parliament has not yet passed its industrial manslaughter legislation.