Wednesday 02 November 2011

Scaffold overload ends in $100,000 fine

A Reservoir bricklaying company which potentially risked a collapse at a Prahran construction site by overloading scaffolding by more than double the safe limit has today been convicted and fined $100,000.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard EGI Bricklaying Pty Ltd put workers and members of the public at serious risk after it overloaded scaffolding with bricks at a hotel construction site on Commercial Road, Prahran.

WorkSafe investigators visited the site on 24 February, 2009 and found the scaffolding had more than 6,000 bricks which were more than double the safe working limit for each bay.

The investigation also found the bricks were not evenly distributed across the platform; EGI employees were not properly trained in unloading and stacking bricks; and there was no supervisor at the site to ensure the job was done correctly.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to provide a safe workplace and failing to ensure the public was not exposed to health and safety risks.

The company was convicted and fined $100,000 and ordered to pay almost $4000 in costs.

WorkSafe Construction and Utilities Director, Allan Beacom said overloading scaffolds was a significant and serious breach.

“Overloaded platforms can cause a scaffold to collapse and may lead to grave consequences, not just for workers, but to members of the public,” he said.

“Bricklaying companies should refer to WorkSafe’s Bricklaying Checklist for Builders and Building Trades Contractors guideline to ensure correct procedures are in place.”

WorkSafe did not allege overloading was responsible for the collapse of another part of the scaffold which collapsed into Commercial Road.

Two companies are expected to appear in court in March next year over the collapse of the scaffold which left closed the street for several days and left three people injured.

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Rosanna Bonaccurso 0478 305 640

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email info@worksafe.vic.gov.au or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.