Demolition company fined $100K over workplace death

Friday, 16 July, 2021

Demolition company fined $100K over workplace death

Demolition contractor Horsham Back-Hoe Hire has been convicted and fined $100,000 and ordered to pay costs of $4213 for failing to maintain a safe workplace, after a worker died at a Ballarat building site in 2019. On 11 September 2019, a director of the family-run business was demolishing a fire-damaged residential property at Mount Pleasant when he pushed over a timber support structure holding up a freestanding brick wall. This caused the wall to collapse, crushing him underneath. The risks could have been eliminated or reduced by establishing and maintaining an exclusion zone around the live demolition area.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the incident was an absolute tragedy, adding that it is a horrific reminder of why it is so important to stop and think about the work being undertaken and ensure risk control measures such as exclusion zones are in place.

“My heart goes out to this man’s family during what must be an incredibly difficult time,” Nielsen said.

To reduce the risks when undertaking demolition work, employers should establish exclusion zones by using physical barricades with adequate signage to prevent employees and other people, including members of the public, from entering potentially unsafe work areas. Employers are also urged to provide information to employees and others in the workplace, advising them of the status of the exclusion zone, and to provide supervision so that no unauthorised person enters an exclusion zone.

Employers should also separate pedestrians and employees from powered mobile plant, and use hard hats, steel cap boots, gloves and high-visibility vests. WorkSafe Victoria also encourages employers to consult with employees, including HSRs, when making decisions about how to control risks.

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