Cleaning company fined after worker fall

A commercial kitchen cleaning company has been fined $30,000 after a worker was seriously injured in a fall from a roof in Geelong.


Parkton Enterprises Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrates' Court on Friday to failing to control the risk of a fall from height, as well as failing to provide instruction and training on working at height.

The company was convicted and ordered to pay costs of $3,367.

Two workers had attended a Barrabool Hills church in October 2018 tasked with cleaning extraction fans on the building's roof.

The court heard they received instructions about the job via text message from a Parkton supervisor.

One of the workers set up a ladder against a metal awning that wrapped around the church, instead of using the designated building ladder access point.

After climbing the ladder without a safety harness, the worker was walking along the awning when it gave way and he fell about 5.5 metres to the ground.

The worker was treated on scene then taken to hospital suffering a crushed lower vertebra, a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder.

WorkSafe investigations revealed that neither worker had been trained in working at heights and were not being supervised by anyone who had been.

The court also heard that no Safe Work Method Statement had been prepared for the task.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said there were no excuses for failing to protect workers against falls from height.

"Falls are a leading cause of death and serious injury in Victorian workplaces, and both the risks and measures that should be used to control them are well known," Ms Nielsen said.

"WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who fail to ensure their workers are properly trained and appropriate safety measures are in place."

To prevent falls from height employers can:

  • Eliminate the risk by where practicable doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.
  • 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, to ensure employees work within a safe area.
  • Use a fall arrest system, such as a harness, catch platform or safety nets, to limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall.
  • Use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement administrative controls.