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WorkSafe Victoria has charged EnergyAustralia Yallourn following the 2018 death of Graeme Edwards, a power station operator who worked at the Yallourn station.

EnergyAustralia has been charged with three breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act over failures to provide a safe place of work, safe systems of work and adequate information and instruction. 

MEU Victorian District Secretary, Geoff Dyke, said that it was a relief that WorkSafe’s initial decision  to not to lay charges had been reversed after a review by the Department of Public Prosecutions. 

“Graeme’s family, his workmates at Yallourn and across the Victorian power industry were devastated by his death,” Mr Dyke said. 

“EnergyAustralia has admitted the tragedy was due to safety failures at the plant and in no way due to unsafe work practices by Graeme, who was an experienced, committed, model employee.” 

Graeme was killed on 12 November 2018, when an arc flash occurred while he was installing a high voltage circuit breaker, which should have been a routine maintenance task.

Mr Dyke said it was important for workers to see EnergyAustralia held to account over the fatality to restore confidence in safety laws meant to protect them.

“The OHS Act is there to make sure that workers return safely home at the end of their shift. Tragically, there was a failure to keep Graeme safe while he was performing essential work for the community. 

“WorkSafe Australia needs to do its job and hold EnergyAustralia to account for what went so terribly wrong at Yallourn power station on 12 November 2018. 

“Graeme was a valuable and much-loved member of his family, community and our union and he continues to be sadly missed.” 

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