Construction company fined following fall of subcontracted worker
A construction company has been fined $65,000 in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court for breaching section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act) after a subcontracted worker fell 4.7m through a skylight onto a tiled floor.
Fortunately, the worker sustained only minor injuries.
The construction company had been contracted to undertake refurbishment work at a school in the Sunshine Coast suburb of Burnside. As part of the final scope of works, the company engaged a subcontract cleaning business to undertake a final clean of Level 1 and Level 2 of the building.
On 23 October 2020, subcontract workers were directed to clean a structure and a plant room which were located on the roof of the building. The workers used the existing access to the roof, which was a metal walkway, to undertake the task of removing mould from a panel of glass louvres.
Following the completion of the work, one of the subcontractor’s workers either stepped away from the structure on the roof or was walking across the roof when he fell approximately 4.7 metres through a skylight.
He was admitted to hospital overnight for treatment of minor injuries.
The Court held that the construction company had failed to ensure adequate controls to reduce the risk of falling from heights, specifically that edge protection should have been installed on the roof structure while the cleaning work was undertaken.
Additionally, the company failed to have Safe Work Method Statements (SWMSs), which would have identified the skylights as a potential hazard for which controls would have to have been in place.
In imposing a fine of $65,000 on the construction company, the Magistrate noted the defendant’s early guilty plea, their lack of previous safety breaches, and their level of cooperation with the subsequent investigation undertaken by Work Health and Safety Queensland.
No conviction was recorded.
For queries about safety, dealing with inspectors, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529, 0417 622 178 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: This information is provided as general advice on workplace relations and employment law. It does not constitute legal advice, and it is always advisable to seek further information regarding specific workplace issues. Liability limited by a scheme approved under professional standards legislation.