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The worker scaled a guard rail in order to obtain promotional material stored on a suspended plasterboard ceiling in August 2007. The ceiling collapsed and she crashed over two metres to the ground which left her with cuts to her head, whiplash and bruises.
Preliminary investigations revealed that Coles in fact knew the area was dangerous to use as a roof cavity for storage and had even built a railing and posted a caution sign.
However, WorkCover disclosed that Coles management had not undergone a risk assessment to determine how much weight the plasterboard could stand, and failed to inform staff of the risks of accessing the area.
Coles was fined on behalf of the Industrial Court of NSW and told to cover WorkCover’s legal costs.
WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety general manager, John Watson stated that since the company employed over 23,000 people in 238 stores across NSW, the safety procedures of the company are important to a significant number of people.
Watson also stated that the area should not have ever been permitted for storage of merchandise and management was responsible for being vigilant. He added, saying that despite management being aware of the dangerous nature of the area, the area was still used without any proper training.
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