Company Fined $71,000 for WHS Breach

Gavel2In Western Australia a crane hire company and its director have been fined a total of $71,000 after a worker suffered serious head and neck injuries when he fell through a roof.

Terry’s Crane Hire and director Terrence Ronald Brown pleaded guilty in the Perth Magistrates Court last week to failing to provide a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to a contractor.In August 2010, the Mallon Company engaged a company called Debri to perform re-roofing work on a commercial property and Terry’s to provide a crane.

A crane operator employed by Terry’s and a 19-year-old independent contractor used a crane to remove packs of asbestos sheeting and land packs of new metal sheets on the roof.

The 19-year-old accessed the roof to guide the crane operator and was warned by the Debri employees to be aware of the hazardous rusty tin sheets and damaged polycarbonate.

He walked across the damaged sheets and stepped onto the end of one of the polycarbonate sheets while trying to remove the slings from a pack of metal sheets. The sheet collapsed and he fell to the cement floor, about 3.3m below.

At the time, safety mesh to prevent falls was installed below the roof, but did not continue to the frontage area, although there were plans to install it after the asbestos was removed.

The court found Terry’s had not ensured the 19-year-old was informed of the risks and was not adequately supervised.
The company was fined $51,000 and Brown was fined $20,000. They were also ordered to pay $1600 in court costs. WorkSafe WA commissioner Lex McCulloch said falls were a significant cause of workplace deaths, with 16 WA workers dying from falls in the past four years.

“Many others have been seriously and permanently injured as a result of falls, and it’s really disappointing when we keep finding people working at heights without all the possible preventative measures in place,” he said.

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