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Brisbane builder fined over work safety breaches


5 December 2019

A Brisbane builder was fined $24,000 this week over breaches of Queensland work safety laws which posed a serious risk to workers.

The company was sentenced in the Holland Park Magistrates Court for three breaches of section 193 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to comply with improvement notices issued by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

The company was responsible for building a multi-unit development at Carina Heights, when, on 16 January last year, a WHSQ inspector visited the site on a compliance matter. The inspector discovered serious breaches, primarily:

  • deficient perimeter scaffolding (multiple areas where there was an absence of scaffold planks and an absence of scaffold rails) and;
  • multiple areas where a lack of edge protection was identified where workers could have risked falling from height from the first two levels of the building, as well as an absence of edge protection around stairwells within the building.

The court heard the workers faced a risk of fall from height from 2.5 metres through to 5.5 metres. As well, there was a lack of periodic inspection of the scaffold.

The inspector issued improvement notices requiring that rectification works addressing the above shortfalls occur within a certain timeframe and visited the site again on 22 January, noting that whilst some attempts were made by the defendant company to address the fall from height issues, there were still many areas where the scaffold was inadequate. Fall from height issues were still present and no periodic inspection of the scaffold had been done.

The company pleaded guilty and was fined $24,000 with costs of $1595. No conviction was recorded.

The magistrate accepted there had been a degree of co-operation in that rectification works had been undertaken, although the works fell well short of what was required. The company had stopped work whilst it attempted remediation and the small number of workers identified by the inspector on site at the time of his visit were engaged in that rectification work.


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