Developer fined $180K for worker fall


Tuesday, 17 September, 2019


Developer fined $180K for worker fall

A developer has been convicted and fined $180,000 after a work-experience student fell six metres and sustained serious injuries at a Canberra worksite in 2016. Nikias Diamond Property Development pleaded guilty to failing to comply with its health and safety duty and exposing an individual to risk of death or serious injury or illness in the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) Industrial Court and was sentenced for breaching section 19 of the territory’s Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act 2011, according to WorkSafe ACT.

The 16-year-old student was on a school/work-based experience program when he stepped off a ladder, into an open void at the Amaroo worksite. ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said he was disappointed by the financial penalty, given the breach carried a maximum penalty of $1.5 million. “The worker involved in this incident has suffered significant and life-changing injuries,” Jones said. “Noting that this incident could have quite easily been fatal, WorkSafe expected a greater penalty in recognition of this and to provide a strong deterrence for industry.”

Two subcontractors that also held WHS duties at the site during the incident have already entered into separate enforceable undertakings with WorkSafe ACT — with each providing $132,000 safety contributions to workers and the community. Jones said that falls from heights remained one of the greatest risks for death and significant injury in the construction sector and that young workers were often overrepresented in such incidents.

WorkSafe ACT is seeking further advice on whether to appeal the penalty decision.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/nicemyphoto

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