A local homebuilder has been fined $77,200 in the Brisbane Magistrates Court for seven breaches under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 dating back to 2017.
The alleged offences occurred at two different worksites in the neighbouring Brisbane suburbs of Annerley and Greenslopes.
In total, there were three complaints and seven charges laid against the homebuilder by the Office of the Work Health and Safety Prosecutor.
The first two complaints followed a site visit by a Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspector at two different housing constructions locations (Annerley and Greenslopes) in October 2017. Uncontrolled fall from height risks relating to unbarricaded voids and unbarricaded edges on upper level work decks were detected along with inadequately maintained scaffolding as well as inadequate worker access and egress site issues (Greenslopes). The inspector issued four Improvement Notices to the builder to remedy these risks.
The third complaint related to another site visit in February 2018 to the same Annerley location where uncontrolled work at height issues were again detected with labourers working from an upper level balcony without edge protection in place.
The defendant company was the builder responsible for the work and had control of the sites. Fortunately, no workers or other people were injured as a result of these breaches.
Magistrate Elizabeth Hall said these were serious offences and the defendant failed to adequately address the obvious hazards while allowing workers to continue working.
In making her decision, Magistrate Hall noted the company was only a small operation and considered the total penalties ($77,200) were substantial.
No conviction was recorded. However, the company was charged, convicted and penalties imposed were:
Complaint 1 (Annerley)
- one breach of s.33 of the duty it held under s.20 (person management/control workplace) – $25,000 fine
- two breaches of s.193 (failing to comply with and improvement notice) - $3,600 fine for both charges
Complaint 2 (Greenslopes)
- one breach of s.33 of the duty it held under s.20 (person management/control workplace) – $30,000 fine
- two breaches of s.193 (fail comply Imp Notice) - $3,600 fine for both charges
Complaint 3 (Annerley)
- one breach of s.33 of the duty it held under s.20 (person management/control workplace) – $15,000 fine.
Professional and court costs of almost $1,800 were also ordered.
More information on industrial prosecutions is at worksafe.qld.gov.au