Wednesday 05 September 2018

Builder fined $70,000 after worker fell from roof

A building group has been convicted and fined $70,000, and ordered to pay $5577 in costs, after a worker received serious injuries in a fall from a two-storey house in Warrnambool.

Concord Builders Group Pty Ltd was found guilty on Friday of two contraventions of the OHS Act for failing to ensure it provided, as far as reasonably practicable, a workplace that was safe and without risk to health.

The Warrnambool Magistrates’ Court heard that two Concord Builders Group employees were installing solar panels on the roof of the property in January 2017 when one fell five metres onto the front lawn.

The worker received broken ribs and neck injuries.

A WorkSafe investigation found there was no evidence of fall protection being used for work within two metres of the roof edge, and no Safe Work Method Statement was in place for the high risk work.

The court ruling follows the deaths of two workers from falls at separate residential construction sites in August.

A man in his 30s died when he fell into a deep trench at a housing estate at Wallan on August 16, and a man in his 40s died in hospital after falling through a stair void at a housing construction site at Rosebud on August 18.

WorkSafe Acting Director of Health and Safety Paul Fowler said the organisation would continue to actively pursue employers who ignored the risks of falls from height.

“As we have seen recently and consistently over a number of years, the risk of falls on construction sites is real, and the consequences are both heartbreaking and life-altering,” Mr Fowler said.

“This fine and conviction should serve as a warning to all employers that failing to protect workers who are required to operate at height is simply inexcusable.”

To prevent falls employers can:

• Eliminate the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.

They can also:

• Use fall prevention devices such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, elevated work platforms or safety mesh.
• Use travel-restraint systems, industrial rope-access systems, catch platforms and fall arrest harness systems.
• Use suitable equipment for working at height. A step platform with handrails provides a larger, more stable surface than a ladder

Extensive guidance on working safely at height is available through worksafe.vic.gov.au or by calling WorkSafe’s advisory service on 1800 136 089 between 8.30 am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Kathleen O'Dwyer: 0435 409 975, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. OR Jeremy Venosta: 0466 733 523, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.