National

Qld company fined $405k for worker deaths

By AAP Newswire

A Queensland construction company has been fined $405,000 over the deaths of two workers crushed by a concrete slab at Brisbane's Eagle Farm Racecourse.

Criscon pleaded guilty to two counts of failing to comply with health and safety duty over the October 2016 deaths of Ashley Morris, 34, and 55-year-old Humberto Leite.

The company was the principal contractor when the pair were killed after becoming sandwiched between two slabs which fell in a domino effect.

Claudio D'Alessandro, the boss of subcontractor Construction Building Technologies, has been charged with manslaughter for alleged gross negligence.

His matter is yet to be determined by a court.

Criscon paid "lip service" by failing to implement aspects of its health and safety plan, Brisbane magistrate Wendy Cull said when sentencing the company.

A sewage pipe was used as makeshift bracing for 14-tonne concrete panels that formed the walls for a foul-water drainage tank, the court heard on Tuesday.

Two workers acting as health and safety co-ordinators did not know they had been nominated for the roles.

"This was not a technical oversight. There was an obvious lack of bracing and no designated Criscon worker to identify that," Ms Cull said.

"The lack of escape route was worse than careless. There was no planning."

Defence barrister Saul Holt QC argued D'Alessandro's alleged breaches were far greater than Criscon's.

"(D'Alessandro) failed to comply with even the basic requirements of the safe work methods he had provided," Mr Holt said.

The incident had devastated the company's reputation, leaving it unable to gain tender for projects, with its profits "effectively sunk to nil", Mr Holt said.