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Company facing $1 million fine for excavator death

An industrial equipment hire company has been fined more than $1 million after the death of a man who hired an excavator.

Dwayne Beaumont suffered a fatal injury in April 2019 after he went to hire an excavator from Territory Plant Hire. He was crushed when an unrestrained attachment came loose.

Both the company and the director pleaded guilty at Darwin Local Court to offences - including failing in duty of care - under the Work, Health and Safety Act, and were collectively fined $1.14 million.

"This tragedy could have been easily avoided," executive director of NT WorkSafe, Peggy Cheong said.

Equipment hire companies needed to have better systems in place to induct workers, secure equipment and maintain safe zones, she said.

Charges were also initially laid against the excavator operator, however these were withdrawn when the operator died.

According to the latest data from Safe Work Australia, the NT has three times the national average number of workplace fatalities per capita.

The territory government introduced industrial manslaughter laws in 2020, eight months after Mr Beaumont's death.

In 2022 NT WorkSafe charged one of the territory's biggest construction companies over the death of a worker in a remote town, alleging the man had been using faulty equipment.

The charge was withdrawn this week, a move the construction union called a betrayal to workers.

CFMEU assistant secretary Kane Lowth said the unexplained decision to withdraw charges sent the message "that laws designed to protect workers and the public are little more than public relations window dressing".

Earlier this month, a local builder was charged after a man took a fatal fall on a construction site in Darwin.