Entire Shopfitting Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Melbourne County Court on Wednesday to failing to provide or maintain systems of work that were safe, and failing to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement before starting high-risk construction work.
Company director John Paul Kenneally also pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to take reasonable care. He was fined $30,000 without conviction.
The court heard that on May 19, 2017, two Entire Shopfitting employees were directed to the mezzanine level of the worksite to start framing works on an extension for a new indoor children’s play centre.
One of the employees placed a stepladder near the edge of the mezzanine where no guarding had been put in place after the balustrade was removed.
When the 55-year-old climbed the ladder, one leg of the ladder went through a cut-out in the floor, tipping the employee over the edge of the mezzanine and onto the ground below.
He suffered serious injuries in the fall and was transported to hospital where he later died.
The court heard that Entire Shopfitting failed to implement fall protection measures and failed to implement an exclusion zone around the edge of the unguarded mezzanine to protect workers from fall risks.
WorkSafe Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen said the incident was a tragic reminder that working from height can have catastrophic consequences.
"The combination of a ladder and an unguarded void is a deadly one," she said.
"There is no excuse for failing to protect workers from falls from height. The risks are well known and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who do not control them."
To prevent falls from height employers should first:
- Consider if they can eliminate the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.
If that is not possible, they should use:
- A passive fall prevention device such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms.
- A positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system.
- A fall arrest system, such as a catch platform or safety nets.
- A fixed or portable ladder or implement administrative controls.
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
Housing sites on notice to reduce the risk of fallsNews
01 May 2018
Man dies after fall from factoryNews
13 Jun 2012
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
Man dies in wall collapseNews
11 Sep 2019
Company fined $120,000 for unsafe worksiteNews
16 Oct 2019