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Truss maker fined $40,000 over unsafe work practices

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Thursday, 4 March, 2021 - 11:15
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Victoria

A roofing truss manufacturer has been convicted and fined $40,000 over a lack of fall protection at a building site in Cranbourne North Victoria.

Melbourne Truss Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Dandenong Magistrates’ Court to a single charge of failing to ensure the workplace was safe and without risk to health. The company was also ordered to pay $6,683 in costs.

The court heard a prime mover fitted with a loading crane delivered wooden roof trusses to the two-storey residential construction site in October 2018.

After the trusses were lifted onto the building, a worker climbed up the frame to the first floor to unhook the crane’s chain sling.

The worker, who was not wearing a safety harness, then sat on the chains as the crane operator lowered him down and placed him on the tray of the truck.

A nearby resident recorded video footage of the incident and contacted WorkSafe Victoria.

An investigation later found there was a risk of serious injury or death due to a fall from over two metres and it was reasonably practicable for Melbourne Truss to ensure workers used a portable ladder to access and exit the building’s first floor.

While the risk did not eventuate in this instance, the company’s offending was still serious, said WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Julie Nielsen.

“It’s crucial that all workers are appropriately trained, equipped and supervised to do their jobs safely,” Nielsen said.

“Falls from height are among the biggest killers of Victorian workers and WorkSafe will not hesitate to take action against employers who fail to address well-known safety hazards.”