Source: Safety Culture
A property developer and its director have been fined a total of $133,000
after a labourer fell about six metres to his death from
The company was redeveloping a property at Cabramatta in August 2007 which
included reroofing, repainting and new plumbing.
The company and the director pleaded guilty to two charges each in the
Sydney Industrial Court to breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act
On 27 August 2007, a 63-year-old labourer sustained fatal injuries when he
fell 5.8 metres from scaffolding while he was removing paint and plumbing
from a 2-storey building.
The man was standing on poorly-built and unsafe scaffolding while using an
electric drill to remove plumbing pipes from the wall of the building when
It was found that the company and its director had failed on numerous
counts to supply a safe working environment for their workers.
The scaffolding was not properly built and had no fall protection such as
The labourer was not provided with, or instructed to wear, any
safety equipment such as a helmet or a harness. He was inexperienced
and had not received adequate training, instruction or information from the
No risk assessment had been carried out.
In handing down her findings Justice Frances Backman described the system
of work as "patently unsafe" and construction of the scaffold as "seriously
She said the risk of a fall was obvious.
Her Honour said
falls from heights occur with alarming regularity and "employers
engaged in work at construction sites must be put on notice that
inattention to safety matters which expose the workers at the site to
danger will be met with severe sanctions".
WorkCover NSW's General Manager of Work Health and Safety Division John
Watson said safety for workers should be the highest priority for all
employers, especially for those working on construction sites.
"You need to select scaffolding that is suitable for the task and is
provided with adequate reinforcement for the scaffolding's support
structure so it's stable.
"Employers also need to provide on-site workers and subcontractors with
adequate information, instruction, training and supervision.
"Most importantly, you need to use a competent person to erect, alter and
dismantle the scaffolding, especially if someone or something can fall more
than four metres from it.
"There was a serious risk to the safety of this worker at the site and
steps should have been taken to prevent the incident and resulting