Work safety and mental health will be targeted under an enforceable undertaking agreed to by a Sunshine Coast construction company as a result of a workplace incident in which a worker fell five metres, suffering serious injuries.
The undertaking between Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Tewantin’s XYCON Pty Ltd trading as JD Constructions is worth more than $100,000 in safety and wellbeing initiatives for the company, the industry and the community. It follows an alleged breach of work health and safety laws that occurred during construction work to replace two skylights and the entire rear roof on a domestic dwelling at Peregian Beach. The investigation found the worksite manager removed two pieces of unsecured plywood that had been placed on the roof over some Alsynite sheeting to mitigate the risk that the sheeting was unable to withstand bodyweight.
The worksite manager advised the roofing contractor workers that the plywood had been removed and to avoid this area. However, one of the workers was replacing ridge caps on the apex of the roof near the sheeting when he accidently placed a foot on the sheeting.
The sheeting broke and he fell 5.1 metres to the ground, sustaining fractures to the legs, foot, and right hip, and a broken wrist and dislocated fingers.
In the event of an alleged contravention of WHS laws, the regulator may, as an alternative to prosecution, accept an enforceable undertaking (EU) by the person alleged to have committed the contravention. An accepted enforceable undertaking aims to deliver tangible benefits which would not be achieved through a prosecution.
In the JD Constructions EU, the company has agreed to engage a WHS consultant to upgrade its occupational health and safety management system and to deliver WHS training to senior staff to ensure subcontractors are properly overseen. The company also has agreed to engage a height safety specialist to review its risk management practices and develop appropriate procedures.
The company’s workplace dust control measures will also be scrutinised by an independent authority and a one-day respiratory protective equipment test centre opened for workers to get a free fit-test at a local community facility in the Noosa area.
Under the EU, the company director will undertake a due diligence coaching plan and the company will write and/or produce a short story for an article or video about managing the risk of respirable crystalline silica in residential construction, with the final product published in an industry magazine or as a video on its social media accounts and promoted to staff.
As well, all workers will complete work safely at heights training and higher-order safety controls for working at heights and there will be a special focus on young worker safety, including producing a video about young workers in construction. A minimum of two mental health workshops will be provided for all workers.
The company also will donate $32,000 in building materials to aid construction of the Noosa Tigers Australian Football Club’s new health and wellbeing centre, which will include a mental health hub.
The EU will result in lasting organisational change within XYCON and monitored and targeted health and safety improvements that will deliver benefits to workers, industry and the community, which may not be achieved by prosecution.