John Holland enters into $1.2 million enforceable undertaking

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Wednesday, 18 May, 2022 - 12:15
Incidents & prosecutions
National News

John Holland recently entered into an enforceable undertaking worth more than $1.2 million, following an incident in which a worker suffered leg injuries from a fall.

The incident, which occurred on 11 September 2018 during construction of the Castle Hill Station in Sydney’s northwest, involved a bricklayer who fell seven metres through a void onto a concrete floor, suffering severe leg fractures.

Following a Comcare investigation, John Holland was charged in 2020 with breaching the federal Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act.

The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions agreed to withdraw the prosecution after Comcare accepted the enforceable undertaking.

John Holland has developed a program of work health and safety improvements and industry support including:

  • A virtual reality app to identify hazards and risks in working at height, to be made freely available to the broader construction industry
  • An improved site induction process using 360-degree cameras and virtual reality systems to strengthen understanding of site risks and hazards
  • Engaging with the construction industry to share insights from the incident and working at height initiatives
  • Partnerships with indigenous and cultural diversity organisations to provide new job opportunities, and support for an industry mental health initiative

Comcare’s head of regulatory operations Justin Napier said the enforcement outcome would deliver measurable improvements.

“The undertaking offers tangible work health and safety benefits across John Holland’s workplaces and for the broader construction industry,” he said.

“There is also an important focus on providing work opportunities and supporting efforts to foster mentally healthy workplaces in the infrastructure sector.”

As the principal contractor for the project, it was alleged that John Holland failed to ensure the board covering the void was adequately fastened. The original charge was a Category 2 offence under the WHS Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.