The defendant company held duties under s.306D of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 as a contractor undertaking housing construction work. The defendant was the contractor for a housing project for the erection of eight two storey townhouses. It subcontracted the carpentry work and a written subcontract agreement was entered into between the parties.
The defendant employed a safety consultant and site supervisor responsible for preparing a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) and daily site inspections.
On 16 December 2014 an incident occurred at the work site when a worker employed by the subcontractor was injured when he fell through a penetration on one of the upper floors of a unit.
The defendant's (and the subcontractor's) SWMS identified site risks, including a fall from a height above 3 meters. The defendant failed on this occasion to ensure that a control measure was used, that is, fall protection covering and placed over openings.
The defendant pleaded guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court on 7 February 2017 to breaching s.306D of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.
Magistrate Mosch fined the defendant $3000 and ordered professional and court costs totaling $1089.40. No conviction was recorded.
The Magistrate acknowledged that the defendant had a safe work method statement (SWMS) and this identified the risk associated with stair voids and the need for protection, however it failed to ensure that control measures in the SWMS were followed.
The court gave the defendant the benefit of an early plea, co-operation with the investigation and its lack of any prior history under the work health and safety legislation.
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 falls through a floor opening of at least three metres, 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 and monitoring the effectiveness of the control measures to ensure they remain working correctly.
When deciding and implementing control measures associated with the risk of serious injury, obligation holders should consider:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
- How to Manage Work Health and Safety Risks Code of Practice 2021 (PDF, 1.02 MB)
- Managing the risk of falls at workplaces code of practice 2021 (PDF, 3.9 MB)
- E207098 - Company 2
- Date of offence:
- Townsville Magistrates Court
- Magistrate Steven Mosch
- s.306D of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011
- Decision date:
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number:
- E207098 - Company 2