Low level falls can kill

Wednesday, 09 March, 2005

A company has been fined the Magistrates' Court's jurisdictional limit of $100,000 after a workplace death at the Sportsgirl shop at the Southland Shopping Centre.

Magistrate Ross Betts fined Krueger Shopfitters $100,000 after the death of 42-year-old Neville Railton in May 2002. The court was told Railton was involved in shop upgrade works with several other men and was standing about 1.45 m up a ladder when he lost his balance, fell against a wall, hit his head and slid to the ground. Mr Railton did not regain consciousness and died three days later.

WorkSafe's charge against Krueger Shopfitters related to the system of work in place at the time of Railton's death. WorkSafe's Executive Director, John Merritt, said Railton's tragic death was a warning for anyone working above ground level to take extreme care. "Employers need to plan the work being done and have the appropriate equipment on hand. As with most workplace safety incidents, this one could have been avoided at very little cost and with no effect on productivity. "While many people would be surprised to hear of a death in these circumstances, the lesson is that deaths can happen when people undertake what appears to be routine work."

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