The defendant, Ryan Craig Dickison held duties under s.28 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 being a worker, employed as a licenced scaffolder at a construction site.
On 22 March 2017 an improperly secured floor plank in scaffolding dislodged. A bricklayer fell 4.2 metres to a concrete floor, striking his head on scaffolding as he fell. He sustained a traumatic brain injury and three skull fractures, and was in a coma for four days.
The defendant, Mr Dickison and another defendant, Scott Gilding were experienced scaffolders responsible for erecting the scaffolding at the construction site, so bricklayers and labourers could build a block wall. The defendant had prepared a scaffold handover certificate, indicating it was safe and compliant for workers to use, but had forgotten to replace a ledger (a horizontal brace to secure floor panels) as they raised the scaffolding. The other defendant was a less experienced scaffolder and had signed the certificate, accepting Mr Dickison's word regarding the state of the scaffold.
On 8 May, 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 recorded a conviction, fined the defendant $15,000 and ordered court costs totalling $92.50.
His Honour took into account the victim impact statement and indicated that a worker's life had been turned upside down by negligence of workers who were responsible for the lives of those using the scaffolding. On 16 January 2018, Mr Gilding was convicted and fined $15,000 plus court costs in the Magistrates court at Richlands.
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 consider the following:
- Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Managing the risk of falls at workplaces code of practice 2021 (PDF, 3.9 MB)
- Date of offence:
- Skull fractures and traumatic brain injury
- Richlands Magistrates Court
- Stuart Shearer
- s.32 of the duty under s.28 Work Health and Safety Act 2011
- Decision date:
- Maximum Penalty:
- Conviction recorded:
- CIS event number: