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WorkSafe WA charges shed company over worker fall death

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: 
Tuesday, 20 April, 2021 - 12:45
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Western Australia

WorkSafe WA has commenced prosecution action against a shed building company and its director over the fall death of a worker and the serious injury of another worker in March 2020.

MT Sheds (WA) Pty Ltd and company director Mark Thomas Withers face a total of seven separate charges including charges in relation to the death of Jake Williams and serious injuries to Fraser Pinchin last year.

The charges include one alleging circumstances of gross negligence against MT Sheds (for which a maximum penalty of a $2.7 million fine applies) and a charge against Mark Withers that alleges the company’s gross negligence offence occurred with his consent or was attributable to his neglect (for which a maximum penalty of a $550,000 fine and five years’ imprisonment applies).

Other charges include allegations that neither Mark Withers nor either of the two employees involved in the incident held high-risk work licences for work they were performing, and that MT Sheds allowed Jake Williams to do construction work when he did not hold a construction induction training certificate.

It is alleged that on the day of the incident, the two workers were installing roof sheets on a shed they were constructing on a farm for agricultural purposes without appropriate safety control measures in place.

A strong wind or willy-willy lifted a sheet from the pack of roof sheets they were working near, causing them both to fall from a significant height.

It is alleged that Jake Williams fell approximately nine metres from the apex of the roof, suffering fatal injuries, while Fraser Pinchin fell around seven metres from the roof’s edge near the gutter line, suffering multiple fractures of the pelvis, hip, wrist and ribs.