WA construction company fined after workplace fall death

Proper health and safety is extremely important when working at heights.

Proper health and safety is extremely important when working at heights.

A Western Australian construction company has received a fine of $65,000 for failing to address substandard construction site safety procedures that resulted in the death of a worker.

The incident occurred on the afternoon of May 31, when the individual in question fell through a skylight in the roof of a shed, dropping seven metres to the floor and suffering fatal injuries.

The man was working in a team responsible for installing wall cladding and roof sheeting on the structure. He was moving across the roof to retrieve some screws when he stepped onto a polycarbonate sheet that gave way.

WorkSafe WA is reporting that no wire safety mesh or edge protection had been installed on the shed. The company also failed to provide those working on the roof with safety harnesses.

According to WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch, falls are “a significant cause of workplace death” in Western Australia, and also contribute to a number of serious and permanent injuries on construction sites in the state.

“It’s really disappointing that employers and persons in control of workplaces are still neglecting to protect workers against falls from height when falls are so easily preventable and it need not be difficult or costly to ensure that safe systems of work are in place,” said Mr McCulloch.

Mr McCulloch described the incident as “a tragedy waiting to happen”. Although the construction company made moves to improve worker safety following the incident – including buying safety mesh and harnesses – that investment came too late to prevent this regrettable death.

“I urge any person or entity in control of a workplace that presents a risk of falls to ensure safe systems of work are in place and that this code is available in the workplace at all times,” he said.

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