Solar power company fined following fall of worker
A solar power company has been fined $40,000 in the Hervey Bay Magistrates Court for breaching section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (The Act) after an employee fell almost six metres from a ladder, sustaining significant injuries.
The company had been contracted to install a solar hot water system on the roof of a two-story house in the Hervey Bay suburb of Urangan.
On 16 September 2020, two workers attended the site, with one employee on the roof conducting electrical work whilst his co-worker installed ducting for the electrical cables and plumbing in the garden.
A 6.55m ladder was placed adjacent to a 5.8m wall to access the roof and secured to the gutter.
While placing the top cover on the duct, the employee fell from the ladder.
He attempted to restrain his fall by grabbing a nearby drainpipe, but it gave way, and he struck the ground.
As a result of the fall, the worker sustained significant injuries, including a compression fracture to his lower vertebrae. Consequently, he lost sensation in his penis, testicles and anus, requiring the medical insertion of a urinary catheter and manual cleansing of his bowels.
In reviewing the available evidence, Magistrate Trinity McGarvie determined that the company had failed to manage the risk of workers failing from height and that fall arrest systems such as harnesses should have been used as the work was carried out above two metres.
In imposing a fine of $40,000 on the contractor, Magistrate McGarvie noted the defendant had entered an early guilty plea and had no prior conviction.
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 0417 622 178, 1300 WAL LAW 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.