DWHS fines specialist lighting company after a fall from heights
A specialist lighting company and one of its directors have been fined a combined $75,000 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for breaching section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act) after a worker sustained serious injuries in a fall from heights in their warehouse.
The worker sustained various serious injuries, including fractures to his skull, eye socket, wrist, multiple ribs, pelvis, lacerations and bruising to his right side, as well as blood clots.
In evidence presented before Magistrate Belinda Merrin, it emerged that the company had undertaken repairs themselves to fix a leak through the skylight in their warehouse.
Although the workers had some experience working at height, they were not qualified or experienced in undertaking roofing or construction work. Nevertheless, a company director approved the purchase of materials to allow them to undertake the tasks.
The company failed to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS), which was mandatory as the repair work constituted “high-risk construction work”.
During the repair work, a worker fell a distance of approximately 7.2 metres through the roof, initially landing on heavy duty boxes before striking the concrete floor.
The worker was hospitalised for eight days immediately after the incident but continues to suffer significant pain and is unable to work.
The Court held that the company had completely failed to assess the risk of injury, failed to implement SWMS and that the serious injuries suffered were foreseeable and avoidable.
Following the incident, the business engaged an external company to complete the roof repairs at a total cost of $2,000.
In imposing a fine of $65,000 on the company and $10,000 on the director, Magistrate Merrin noted the defendant’s early guilty plea, lack of prior convictions, and demonstrated remorse.
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 email@example.com
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.