Truss maker fined $40,000 over lack of fall protection
Roofing truss manufacturer Melbourne Truss Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $40,000, over a lack of fall protection at a Cranbourne North building site. The company pleaded guilty to a single charge of failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risk to health. The company was also ordered to pay $6683 in costs.
In October 2018, a prime mover fitted with a loading crane delivered wooden roof trusses to the two-storey residential construction site. After the trusses were lifted onto the building, a worker, who was not wearing a safety harness, climbed up the frame to the first floor to unhook the crane’s chain sling. The worker than sat on the chains as the crane operator lowered him down and placed him on the tray of the truck. A nearby resident recorded footage of the incident and contacted WorkSafe Victoria.
An investigation uncovered the risk of serious injury or death due to a fall from over two metres. It was also reasonably practicable for Melbourne Truss to ensure workers used a portable ladder to access and exit the building’s first floor. WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said that while the risk did not eventuate in this instance, the company’s offence was still serious.
“It’s crucial that all workers are appropriately trained, equipped and supervised to do their jobs safely. Falls from height are among the biggest killers of Victorian workers and WorkSafe will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail to address well-known safety hazards,” said Nielsen.
Employers are urged to limit the risk of falls from height by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction. Where possible, employers should also use passive fall prevention devices such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms. A positioning system (such as a travel-restraint system) can also help ensure that employees work within a safe area.
A fall arrest system (such as a harness, catch platform or safety net) can also limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall. Where possible, employers should use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement administrative controls.
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