NSCA Foundation

Fall fatality sees construction firm fined

Monday, 17 December, 2018

Fall fatality sees construction firm fined

A conviction and fine has been issued to a Melbourne construction company, after a painter fell 3.46 metres and died at a Mornington Peninsula construction site.

VCON Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to contravening Section 26 of the OHS Act when it failed to ensure that the workplace was safe and without risks to health.

It was fined $275,000 and ordered to pay $7500 in costs.

The court heard that the painter was working on the first floor when he fell through the void and landed on the tiled ground floor in February 2017.

He was taken to hospital, where he later died from his injuries.

A WorkSafe Victoria investigation found a wooden handrail at the edge of the first floor void near where the painter was working had been partially dislodged from one of its clamps.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said exposing workers to the risks of falls from height was unacceptable.

“Falls from height continue to be a leading cause of serious injuries and death in Victorian workplaces,” she said.

“As the holidays approach and many employers are rushing to get work finished, this tragic incident is a reminder of the dangers working at height involves.

“WorkSafe inspectors are currently focusing on the risk of falls from heights when they visit construction sites and will not hesitate to take enforcement action where they see that a risk is not adequately being controlled.”

To prevent falls from height, employers can eliminate the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.

They can also:

  • use passive fall prevention devices such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms
  • use a positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system
  • use a fall arrest system, such as a catch platform or safety net
  • use a fixed or portable ladder or implement administrative controls.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/bannafarsai

NSCA Foundation is a member based, non-profit organisation working together with members to improve workplace health and safety throughout Australia. For more information and membership details click here
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