Company fined after workers fall from excavator bucket


Wednesday, 15 March, 2023

Company fined after workers fall from excavator bucket

Apex Building Systems Pty Ltd has been fined $180,000 after two workers were injured when they fell four metres from an excavator bucket during the demolition of a building in 2019. The Windsor business pleaded guilty to failing to comply with its obligations under sections 19(1) and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann said the company was the principal contractor for a construction project at Vineyard and had contacted Greater Civil Pty Ltd to demolish a metal framed building on site.

On 21 August 2019, two workers were told to get into the bucket of an excavator which was attached upside down to the plant machine to use as a work platform. The court was told that the pair were lifted about four metres to dismantle a roof and frame but the bucket detached and the workers fell onto the concrete below. “One man suffered serious injuries and was taken to hospital with fractures to his back and neck,” Mann said.

Mann said the excavator bucket was not designed to lift people or be used as a work platform, especially when upside down. The workers were also not provided with fall protection.

“Apex Building Systems was obligated to identify hazards and risks on the site before work began but did not complete this assessment for the demolition works. Apex admitted to failing this obligation, which put the two workers at risk of serious injury and death.

“Worksites are full of danger and these risks must be managed especially when demolition work is carried out, particularly at heights. Apex has improved its work health and safety compliance since the incident, including requiring contractors to provide a safe work method statement before entering a site,” Mann said.

Apex Building Systems has the right to appeal the sentence.

Image credit: iStock.com/DedMityay

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