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Business and supervisor fined $55,000 over rooftop plunge

A roofing business and one of its supervisors were fined a collective $55,000 after a worker was seriously injured falling through a roof onto a concrete floor.

The company was fined $50,000, and its supervisor fined $5,000 for failing to prevent the worker from being exposed to the risk of death or serious injury.

The matter was heard in the Richlands Magistrates Court under Magistrate Stuart Shearer where both defendant parties pleaded guilty to breaches of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

The court heard that on 28 September 2020, the worker sustained a serious injury after he fell nearly seven metres from the roof of a warehouse. His injuries included multiple pelvis fractures, compressed vertebrae, fractured wrists, head lacerations and perforations to the spleen and bowels.

Magistrate Shearer specifically noted it was fortunate the worker hadn’t died as a direct result of the fall and said the business and the supervisor contributed to the incident.

On the day of the fall, the site supervisor for the company was performing induction training to workers at a warehouse. Two workers were positioned on the ground with another on the roof; they needed to use a crane to hoist sheets to the roof for installation.

The injured worker was tasked to work from the roof where he stepped onto an area covered in sarking. He fell through this and landed on the concrete floor.

The court heard the investigation into the incident revealed appropriate control measures were not in place to prevent the worker from falling from height. Magistrate Shearer said that barriers or nets should have been installed and that these types of measures would not have been onerous.

In sentencing, Magistrate Shearer considered the shared culpability of the supervisor and the business, and how both parties contributed to the seriousness of the fall and the subsequent severe nature of the workers’ injuries.

He remarked that the work undertaken by the injured worker posed an obvious and foreseeable risk of serious injury or death, and that insufficient attention had been given to ensure processes were followed on the day.

A fine of $50,000 was imposed on the company, including $601 in costs, with no conviction being recorded. A fine of $5,000 was imposed on the supervisor, including $601 in costs, with no conviction recorded.

Further information

Read more on this prosecution and other Work Health and Safety prosecutions.