Concorp Group Pty Ltd (in liquidation) was found guilty by a jury in the County Court on Friday of two offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to maintain a safe working environment and failing to provide instruction.
In sentencing, the judge imposed a $325,000 fine for each of the charges.
Concorp had been engaged to install concrete formwork as part of the construction of a multi-level apartment complex on Elizabeth Street in Carlton.
In February 2016 the 54-year-old was working alone on a wooden platform inside an open shaft on the fourth floor of the building when it overturned.
The court was told he fell about 12 metres to the ground and died on site a short time later.
A WorkSafe investigation found the cantilevered platform had been constructed two days earlier by other labourers, but was boarded up on orders of a supervisor amid concerns over a lack of fall protection.
The court heard no other employees were warned about the platform before the plywood blocking its entrance was later removed, and the worker entered the shaft to undertake drilling.
An independent engineer later found the likelihood of a fall occurring was almost inevitable.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said basic safety failures had caused the tragic loss of a man’s life.
"This death could have easily been avoided if other workers had been warned about the unsafe platform, or if the company had made readily available and cheap modifications to reduce the risk of a fall," Ms Nielsen said.
"Falls from height are one of the biggest killers of Victorian workers and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who do not control the associated risks."
To prevent falls when working with formwork employers should:
- Ensure a competent person produces a formwork design capable of supporting the expected dynamic and static loads.
- Have systems in place to formally sign off a formwork deck as structurally sound, complete and safe for other trade workers to use as a work platform.
- Provide employees undertaking construction work with site specific training, including the onsite risks associated with formwork decks.
- Ensure High Risk Construction Work is not performed unless a Safe Work Method Statement is prepared and followed.
- Use a fall arrest system, such as a catch platform or safety nets.
Construction company fined $850,000 after fatal fallNews
04 Aug 2020
Man dies following roof fallNews
10 Feb 2020
Developer fined for serious safety failuresNews
06 Feb 2020
Falls leave three men in hospitalNews
06 Dec 2019
Company fined $650,000 after deadly fallNews
13 Nov 2019
Company fined $120,000 for unsafe worksiteNews
16 Oct 2019
Demolition company fined $75,000 after worker’s fallNews
07 Aug 2019
Apartment developer fined $80,000 for unsafe worksitesNews
15 May 2019
Company, director fined after fall deathNews
10 May 2019
Safety Inspectors to blitz construction sitesNews
21 Mar 2019
Building company fined for failing on fall risksNews
29 Nov 2018
WorkSafe targets housing sites to reduce the risk of fallsNews
23 Nov 2018
New asbestos and prevention of falls compliance codes now availableNews
11 Oct 2018
Builder fined $70,000 after worker fell from roofNews
04 Sep 2018
Falls the focus of Cross Border safety programNews
23 Aug 2018
Worker dies in hospital following serious fallNews
22 Aug 2018
Man dies after fall from factoryNews
13 Jun 2012
Housing sites on notice to reduce the risk of fallsNews
01 May 2018
11 falls prompts warning about working safely at heightsNews
14 Feb 2018
Worker dies after 4.3m fall from ladderNews
23 May 2017