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Edge protection company and director fined over workplace safety

An edge protection company has been fined $50,000 for exposing workers to a risk of serious injury or death from roof falls. The company provides and installs edge protection on rooves so workers can safely work at height.

A Brisbane court recently found the company failed to comply with its primary safety duty under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, exposing workers to risk of serious injury or death from roof falls. Its hand-on director was also fined $5000 for failing to comply with his duty as an officer of the company.

Between 3 and 7 March 2018, the company was installing edge protection on a house in Highgate Hill. On 7 March, a roofing contractor lent against one of the horizontal edge protection rails which failed, and he fell 2.6m, suffering a significant facture to his left knee, and lacerations to his left leg and hand.

A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland investigation found the rail hadn't been properly secured.

The investigation revealed the company work method statement for installing edge protection required one designated worker to check all couplings to ensure they were secure. However, that wasn't the case on this occasion as the director (the person designated to check) had left for around 30 minutes to quote on another job and the worker he assigned the task didn't do it either.

In sentencing, Magistrate Stephen Courtney took into consideration the defendants' co-operation with the investigation, that neither had any prior WHS contraventions, an early guilty plea and the post incident measures implemented that would, if followed, ensure a similar incident would not occur.

The company was fined $50,000 with no conviction recorded. The director received a $5000 fine with no conviction recorded. Court costs of $1000 were shared by the two defendants.

Further information

More prosecutions are at owhsp.qld.gov.au