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VIC: ‘Be Careful’ Warning Not Enough, Employer Learns

"Telling your workers to 'be careful' isn't going to cut it," WorkSafe Victoria's Executive Director for Health and Safety Ian Forsyth said after the prosecution of an employer over the death of a worker.

The Melbourne Magistrates' Court has fined the owner of a building company $30,000 after a man fell to his death in a construction site under his control.

The defendant was convicted of two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.

The business owner was contracted to renovate a house in Lower Templestowe. He employed two casual workers, including the victim, to carry out the domestic construction work.

The court was told the defendant fell short of safety standards after merely warning workers to be careful.

In June 2008, a casual worker died after falling over three metres through a hole to the ground floor.

Investigations revealed that holes in the home's first floor had been cut out by an electrical contractor, but had left some uncovered.

Instead of taking precautionary measures like barricading the area or covering the hole, the defendant merely told his workers to be careful.

"This incident is a reminder to everyone responsible for a workplace to actively identify and eliminate safety risks," Mr Forsyth said.

"[The defendant] was the primary contractor and had the key to the workplace.

"If you're assuming control of a workplace, responsibilities come with it. You've got to be vigilant about the risks.

"The take-home message here is clear - if you're responsible for a workplace, you need to be actively looking for hazards every day and taking steps to eliminate them."

Report by Safety Culture