Ballantine fall lands $38K fine in first of four cases

Thursday, 08 August, 2019

Ballantine fall lands $38K fine in first of four cases

Valmont WA Pty Ltd has been fined $38,000 and ordered to pay $8054 in costs in the first court case related to 17-year-old Wesley Ballantine’s death.

Valmont pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons who were not their employees were not exposed to hazards and was fined in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday, according to WorkSafe WA. WorkSafe WA announced it had brought charges against the company, along with three other parties, in June this year, alleging that they all played a role in Ballantine’s death.

According to WorkSafe WA, Ballantine fell 12 metres through an open void in the atrium roof framework of the Perth General Post Office (Perth GPO) building while installing the roof’s glass panels at around 4.15 am on 5 January 2017. Valmont was the main contractor for the final stage of the Perth GPO building’s conversion into a retail store, which included the installation of the steel and glass roof in the centre of the building.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said Valmont’s failure to ensure that its subcontractor fulfilled its obligations played a part in the events that took place early on 5 January.

“Although it was not alleged that Valmont caused Wesley’s death, the company failed in its duty to ensure that its subcontractor was working safely, something the company was obliged to do under WA’s workplace safety laws,” Kavanagh said. “The court heard a Valmont site supervisor had seen Wesley and his manager on the atrium steel framework not wearing safety harnesses and with no other suitable safety measures in place.

“They were called down and told to wear their safety harnesses and personal protective equipment, but there was no adequate fall injury prevention system for them to connect their harnesses to.

“The Valmont site supervisor did not follow his own company’s procedures for dealing with non-conformance and taking corrective action, so the company deserved to be prosecuted over their failure to protect workers,” he concluded.

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