The defendant was a builder for a large multi-unit complex at Broadbeach that employed workers and engaged sub-contractors. The defendant hired a sub-contractor to supply, erect and install a swing stage scaffold, as well as provide an induction to workers on its safe use.
Swing stages are suspended work platforms (cradles), raised and lowered via cables, on the exterior of a building. The cradle is supported by rigging made up of two needles that extend past the exterior wall of the building to which cables are attached for the raising and lowering of the platform. The stage is operated by workers within the cradle platform.
On 21 June 2008, two workers were in a swing stage work platform patching concrete on the exterior of the building, when it detached and fell 26 levels to the ground, killing both workers.
An investigation revealed the workers were not inducted on how to use the swing stage and the defendant did not have an appropriate system in place to oversee the supervision of its use. The purpose of inducting workers is to ensure they understand the pre-start operational checks, how to properly carry out these checks, and operational parameters and requirements for safely operating the swing stage.
The defendant should have made sure appropriate and adequate systems were used to ensure workers were inducted, trained and supervised when using the swing stage.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court on 19 January 2015, to breaching s. 24 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, having failed to meet its workplace health and safety obligations and was sentenced.
Magistrate Barbara Tynan fined the defendant $25 000 and ordered professional and court costs totaling $2580.20. There was no conviction recorded.
In reaching a decision, Magistrate Tynan considered that it was the responsibility of the defendant to ensure the safe use of the swing stages.
In deciding penalty, Magistrate Tynan took into account the defendant had not been prosecuted previously for any workplace health and safety breach, co-operated with the investigation and entered a plea of guilty.
Considerations for prevention
(commentary under this heading is not part of the court's decision)
Employers and business owners must provide information, instruction, training and supervision to workers and others at a workplace to ensure that work is performed in a safe manner and without risk to health.
Where there is exposure to risks from falls from heights, duty holders should apply a risk management approach to ensure the selection of suitable control measures.
- E80250 - C3
- Date of offence:
- Southport Magistrates Court
- Ms Barbara Tynan
- s. 24(1) of the obligation held under s. 30 of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995
- Decision date:
- $25 000
- Maximum Penalty:
- $187 500
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number:
- E80250 - C3