Two WA companies charged over worker fall death

Thursday, 19 October, 2023

Two WA companies charged over worker fall death

Two companies have been charged following an incident in which a worker died after falling around 20 metres from a roof under construction at Curtin University in 2020. Steel fabrication company Elsdon Pty Ltd is facing charges for failing to ensure the safety and health of persons not being their employees and, by that failure, causing the death of Jonathan Hartshorn and serious harm to another worker. The maximum penalty for this charge is $2 million.

Stantec Australia Pty Ltd, which was involved in the design of the roof, has also been charged for failing to ensure the safety and health of persons not being their employees. This charge has a maximum penalty of $1.5 million. The incident occurred prior to the introduction of the Work Health and Safety Act 2020, so the charges were laid under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

In October 2020, 23-year-old Jonathan Hartshorn, an apprentice carpenter, was working on the construction of a roof when the steel structure partially collapsed and he fell around 20 metres to the ground. Another worker also fell and was seriously injured. Acting WorkSafe Commissioner Sally North said the investigation was complex and time-consuming, and that it is now up to the courts to determine what action would be appropriate.

The first mention will take place in the Perth Magistrates Court on 13 December 2023.

Image credit: Ling

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