A jury has unanimously found Bradken Resources guilty of failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace, after employee Peter Watson was killed by a 300-kilogram metal casting in 2014.
It took three days of deliberations for the eight-woman and four-man jury to reach their decision after eight days of evidence and submissions from both sides.
Bradken executive general manager Brad Ward had sat in Wangaratta County Court for every minute of the trial over the past few weeks, and kept a straight face as the foreman revealed the verdict just after 2pm yesterday.
The company had pleaded not guilty to the charge, arguing there was no way to foresee that the hot metal casting could have fallen out of the skid steer loader operated by Mr Watson on the night of July 22, 2014.
He died after the casting fell on top of him and set the machine on fire.
A statement from Bradken was released after the verdict.
"The people at Bradken remain saddened by the loss of our colleague, Peter Watson," it stated.
"We respect the judicial process and will sincerely consider the outcome today with our legal team.
"Our thoughts remain with Peter's family and the people who were directly impacted by this incident, our colleagues and the emergency response team.
"We have been supporting our people through this difficult time and will continue to do so. The safety of our people and our work sites is and always will be our highest priority and we are committed to always improving our safety performance."
The issue was there were no witnesses to what happened, so neither side could definitively say what occurred.
In his closing address to the jury, defence barrister Robert Taylor said Bradken had sought out an experienced engineer after the incident to try to understand what had occurred.
Engineer Roger Kahler told the court that after conducting a range of tests, he believed it would be almost impossible for the casting to come out of the machine, unless he created an "extreme" situation.
But in handing down a guilty verdict, the jury accepted the argument of WorkSafe and the Crown prosecutors, who said Bradken should have used the safer option of an excavator for the task.
"If there's a risk an employee could be burnt to death and there's something that could be done to reduce that risk, then of course you should do it," prosecutor Andrew Palmer QC said in his closing address.
Judge Julie Condon on Friday thanked the jury for their service before they were dismissed.
The case was adjourned and will return to court at a later date before a punishment is handed down.
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