House Demolition and removal business fined for unsafe work practices and injuring worker
A company that specialises in house removals and demolition and its sole director have been sentenced and fined in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court for breaching section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act).
The company’s pleadings included failing to comply with its primary duty to ensure the health and safety of workers, thereby exposing workers to the risk of death or serious injury, while the director pleaded guilty to failing to exercise due diligence to ensure the company complied with its safety obligations.
The company has been operating for over thirty years, and its primary activities involve the relocation, demolition, re-stumping and raising of domestic premises across Queensland.
In 2020, the company were engaged to remove a two-story house. Evidence presented to the Court included:
Workers had not received an induction or any formal training;
Despite the work regularly involving work at heights, the company provided safety harnesses but did not enforce their usage or train workers on how to use them as a safety prevention measure.
On 7 January 2021, a teenage worker was attempting to secure a tarpaulin across the roof of the house when he fell approximately five (5) metres to the ground.
As a result of the fall, he sustained a back injury, was hospitalised for nine days, and has been unable to work for several months.
Following the incident, the company voluntarily engaged a safety consultant to review existing practices, design an induction program, and draft thorough Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS).
In imposing a fine of $45,000 on the company and $15,000 on the director, Magistrate John McInnes acknowledged the efforts of the company to improve their processes and systems, as well as their willingness to assist in the incident investigation.
No conviction was recorded.
For queries about safety, prosecutions, 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.