Increased fine for roofer that failed to manage falls risk

A fine imposed on a roofing company that failed to protect a worker from a four-metre fall has been increased more than fivefold to $40,000 following an appeal.


In September 2023, D Buck Roofing Pty Ltd was fined $7,500 without conviction in the Broadmeadows Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to provide and maintain safe systems of work.

The original sentence was set aside on Thursday 15 February, with the County Court instead ordering the company to pay a fine of $40,000 without conviction – more than five times the original amount.

D Buck Roofing was also ordered to pay $3,985 in costs.

The court heard that in August 2021, a worker fell through a gap in safety mesh while working on the roof of a building extension at a Donnybrook school, falling approximately 4.2 metres to the ground.

The worker required 15 surgeries after suffering a broken fibula and tibula in his right leg and shattering his left heel bone.

A WorkSafe investigation found the installation of safety mesh on the roof was unfinished as the company had run out, while guard railing around the roof's perimeter was also incomplete.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said there were no excuses for ignoring the well-known risk control measures to protect workers from falls.

"This should serve as a warning to any employer who thinks they can get away with cutting corners – it is just not worth exposing your workers to the risk of injury and opening yourself up to severe financial penalties," Dr Beer said.

"WorkSafe will always look to exercise its right to appeal a prosecution result where we believe it does not reflect the seriousness of the offending."

Construction continues to be the highest-risk industry for falls from heights and WorkSafe inspectors are conducting a statewide blitz on building sites across Victoria this week to ensure employers have the highest level of risk control measures in place.

To prevent falls from height employers should:

  • 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.