A magistrate has granted a small building company six years to pay off a fine it received following an incident that resulted in a 27-year-worker becoming paraplegic. The worker reportedly fell four metres at Keysborough in Melbourne in June 2010.
The company was charged for breaching section 21(1) and 21(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004. It has been reported that the company neglected to ensure a safe working environment by failing to provide a safe system of work for installing roof trusses.
The company pleaded guilty to the charges and subsequently received a fine of $60,000 and ordered to pay court costs of approximately $2894.
Workers for the company were replacing a burnt-out roof of a house when it started to rain which compelled them to rush to make the house weatherproof. The fallen worker’s supervisor said to WorkSafe investigators that he had observed the injured man climb onto the frame of the house prior to his falling.
Despite knowing that the act was risky, he did not tell the worker to immediately come down, believing that he was capable of standing there and lifting one truss. Eventually the man lost his grip on the truss, slipped of the wet roof and fell down an unprotected stairwell void. The worker suffered a punctured lung, broken ribs, a fractured wrist and serious cuts to the head. He also suffered three broken vertebrae and is unfortunately, unlikely to ever walk again.
WorkSafe’s General Manager of Operations, Lisa Sturzenegger, stated that a monthly payment of $850 to meet the total $60k fine would stand as a constant reminder to the company to uphold the company’s safety standards.
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