An employee of the company (a qualified builder with experience at working at heights) fell from the roof of a building being demolished while removing roofing sheets.
He had taken part in a toolbox talk that morning and was told to wear a harness. A harness was available, but was not worn. However, the static line used was not appropriate for the purpose.
Although experienced, the worker had not undertaken work at heights training and lacked qualification to undertake the work. In any event, the hazard could have been eliminated by the demolition work being conducted from the ground without workers removing the roofing sheets at height.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Sandgate Magistrates Court on 16 November 2015 to breaching s. 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, having failed to meet his obligation of due diligence to ensure the company met its work health and safety duties.
Magistrate Paul Kluck fined the defendant $10 000. No conviction was recorded.
In reaching a decision, the magistrate acknowledged that the defendant, as a company officer, could have exercised greater diligence and had failed to comply with s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
In deciding the penalty, Magistrate Kluck took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any work health and safety breach and the company of which he was a director was a smaller family company. The defendant had also co-operated with the investigation and entered an early plea of guilty.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
When working in the construction industry where there is exposure to risks from working at height, duty holders should apply a risk management approach to ensure the selection of suitable control measures.
Risk management involves:
- identifying the hazards
- evaluating the consequences and likelihood of harm that may result from the hazard
- deciding and implementing control measures to prevent or minimise the level of the risk from the hazard
- monitoring the effectiveness of the control measures to ensure they remain working correctly.
When deciding and implementing control measures associated fall from height, duty holders should consider Part 3.1 of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and the Managing the risk of falls at workplaces code of practice 2021 (PDF, 3.9 MB).
- E193181 - I
- Date of offence:
- Broken wrist, fractured hip and rib, collapsed lung, concussion
- Sandgate Magistrates Court
- Mr Paul Kluck
- s.32 of the duty under s.27(1) Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- $10 000
- Maximum Penalty:
- $300 000
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number:
- E193181 - I