Building company fined $25,000 over 6-metre stair void fall

Friday, 19 June, 2020 - 09:00
Incidents & prosecutions

A developer in Mount Waverly Victoria has been convicted and fined $25,000 following an incident in which a sub-contractor fell six metres through a stair void.

Chloch Homes & Developments Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court to one charge of failing to ensure as far as reasonably practicable that the workplace was safe and without risk to health and safety and was fined $15,000 without conviction.

The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the fine in the Melbourne County Court where Chloch was convicted and fined an additional $10,000, while Chloch Homes & Developments was also ordered to pay costs of $2500.

The Court heard that a sub-contractor was taken to hospital after he fell through an unguarded void and landed on a concrete floor while installing roof trusses at the development.

A WorkSafe Victoria investigation found Chloch had no fall protection in place at the time of the incident.

There was no room for complacency when it comes to fall risks, said WorkSafe Victoria health and safety executive director Julie Nielsen.

“There are no excuses for allowing workers to complete tasks around unprotected edges and voids,” Nielsen said.

“These risks are well known and the systems of work for eliminating or reducing them are readily available.

“Falls from height are a leading cause of serious injuries and death on Victorian construction sites and employers must take these risks seriously.

To prevent falls from height WorkSafe Victoria said employers should first consider if they can eliminate the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.

If that is not possible, they should use:

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