Erfanian Developments Pty Ltd was convicted of eight offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act at Melbourne Magistrates Court on 9 May.
The firm, which went into liquidation in June 2018, was also ordered to pay $4115 in costs.
The court heard that between 15 August 2017 and 8 January 2018 WorkSafe attended multiple times at construction sites in Kilsyth and Bulleen that were under the company’s control.
The court heard inspectors at Kilsyth observed people working at a height of three metres on scaffolding that was unsafe and incomplete, creating a risk of serious injury or death from scaffold collapse or falling.
The court was told people entering or leaving the units were also at risk of tripping on steps, colliding with harmful objects, or suffering injuries.
At Bulleen, five people were seen working within half a metre of an unguarded first floor balcony and roof edge.
The court heard people were also observed accessing the roof area via an unsecured scaffold ladder placed on material and debris,
At both sites, inspectors saw people working close to unguarded stair voids, with access to the first floors via unsecured ladders in the unguarded voids. People were also observed working close to edges with no fall prevention measures in place at both sites.
The court was told both worksites were also strewn with excess materials, off-cuts, debris, piles of broken plaster, loose scaffold materials stacked in main access ways, and general rubbish placing workers at risk of injury from slipping, tripping, falling or coming into contact with harmful objects.
WorkSafe Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen said it was only by sheer good fortune that before WorkSafe stepped in no-one had been hurt, or worse, killed, on these unsafe and unkempt worksites.
“Working without guardrails or other fall prevention measures at height is a death or serious injury waiting to happen,” Ms Nielsen said.
"And leaving rubbish and debris strewn through a site is another obvious recipe for disaster."
"There is no excuse for either practice and WorkSafe will not hesitate, even where a safety incident has not occurred, to prosecute employers who fail to protect employees working at height or fail to provide a worksite free of slip, trip and fall hazards."
To prevent falls from height employers can:
- Eliminate the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.
They can also:
- Use a passive fall prevention device such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms.
- Use a positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system.
- Use a fall arrest system, such as a catch platform or safety nets.
- Use a fixed or portable ladder or implement administrative controls.
To reduce the risk of slips, trips and falls employers can:
- Assess sites for slips, trips and falls hazards.
- Keep worksites tidy by removing rubbish and clutter.
- Ensure access routes, including entry and exit points, doorways and corridors, are kept clear of equipment, materials, rubbish and electrical cords.
- Ensure work areas are appropriately lit.
Border construction sites under the microscopeNews
04 Mar 2015
Border inspections targeting unsafe construction workNews
18 May 2015
Man dies after fall at Doreen building siteNews
06 Jul 2012
Two dead and one injured in horror weekendNews
20 Feb 2017
Worker dies after 4.3m fall from ladderNews
23 May 2017
11 falls prompts warning about working safely at heightsNews
14 Feb 2018
Man dies after fall from factoryNews
13 Jun 2012
Housing sites on notice to reduce the risk of fallsNews
01 May 2018
Worker dies in hospital following serious fallNews
22 Aug 2018
Falls the focus of Cross Border safety programNews
23 Aug 2018
Builder fined $70,000 after worker fell from roofNews
04 Sep 2018
New asbestos and prevention of falls compliance codes now availableNews
11 Oct 2018
WorkSafe targets housing sites to reduce the risk of fallsNews
23 Nov 2018
Building company fined for failing on fall risksNews
29 Nov 2018
Safety Inspectors to blitz construction sitesNews
21 Mar 2019
Company, director fined after fall deathNews
10 May 2019
Apartment developer fined $80,000 for unsafe worksitesNews
15 May 2019
Demolition company fined $75,000 after worker’s fallNews
07 Aug 2019
Company fined $120,000 for unsafe worksiteNews
16 Oct 2019