Manufacturer fined following worker's fall

A smallgoods manufacturer has been fined $30,000 after a worker suffered serious injuries in a fall at a Carrum Downs workplace in 2019.


R N Brand Pty Ltd, trading as Alpine Smallgoods, was fined without conviction after pleading guilty in the Frankston Magistrates' Court last Monday to one charge of failing, so far as reasonably practicable, to provide or maintain a safe system of work.

The company was also ordered to pay costs of $3164.

The court heard on 13 June 2019 a worker was standing on a stack of pallets about 1.5 metres high to help unload boxes from a delivery truck when he fell backwards.

The worker suffered a fractured skull, fractured spine and broken ribs and he spent more than a month in hospital.

A WorkSafe investigation found the company could have eliminated or reduced any risks to workers during the unloading of trucks by using a platform with perimeter guarding.

WorkSafe Acting Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said the idea of standing on stacked pallets to unload boxes was obviously flawed.

"Falls from height remain one of the biggest killers of workers in Victoria and you don’t have to fall a great distance to suffer serious injuries, or worse," Mr Keen said.

"These incidents can happen at all kinds of workplaces and while undertaking a variety of tasks and it is up to employers to have systems in place to prevent them."

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.