The defendant, Scott Andrew Gilding, held duties under s.28 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 being a scaffolder, a worker employed by a corporation.
On 22 March 2017 a bricklayer received serious injuries when an improperly secured floor plank in scaffolding dislodged and he fell 4.2 metres to the concrete floor below, striking his head on the scaffolding as he fell. He received traumatic brain injury and three skull fractures, and was in a coma for four days. He has ongoing medical and psychological difficulties.
The defendant and his co-defendant (Ryan Craig Dickison) were experienced scaffolders responsible for erecting the scaffolding at the construction site, so bricklayers and labourers could build a concrete block wall. The defendant had signed off on a scaffold handover certificate (that indicates the scaffold is safe and compliant for workers to use) without inspecting the scaffold. He indicated that he took his co-defendant's word that it was safe and compliant, when the co-defendant had forgotten to replace a ledger (a horizontal brace to secure floor panels) as they moved the scaffolding higher. The co-defendant was a more experienced scaffolder and this contributed to why the defendant accepted his word regarding the state of the scaffold.
On 16 January 2018, the defendant, who at all times has maintained that he was genuinely shocked, upset and deeply remorseful, pleaded guilty, in writing, in the Richlands Magistrates Court to breaching s.32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (as a worker), having failed to meet his work health and safety duties and was sentenced.
Magistrate Shearer fined the defendant $15,000 and ordered court costs totalling $92.50. The court ordered that conviction be recorded.
His Honour took into account the victim impact statement and indicated that an innocent worker's life had been turned upside down by the negligence of workers who were responsible for the lives of those using the scaffolding.
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 of fall from heights, 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.
Visit the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland website for information on:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Managing the risk of falls at workplaces code of practice 2021 (PDF, 3.9 MB)
- Date of offence:
- Richlands Magistrates Court
- Magistrate Shearer
- s.32 of the duty under s.28 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: