Company fined $25,000 for unsafe scaffolding
Ballarat construction company Myrti has been convicted and fined $25,000 for ignoring WorkSafe directions to fix unsafe scaffolding at a Mount Clear worksite. The company was also ordered to pay $2,897 in costs.
The convictions related to a failure to provide a safe workplace and a failure to comply with a WorkSafe prohibition notice.
WorkSafe issued Myrti with a prohibition notice in May 2016 after an inspector observed incomplete scaffolding, with missing planks and gaps in the handrails.
The notice required that the scaffolding not be used until the safety issues were addressed but when a WorkSafe inspector returned to check that the notice had been complied with, a person was working from the same incomplete scaffolding.
WorkSafe head of operations and emergency management Adam Watson says the idea that a construction company would ignore a directive to fix a safety issue as critical as scaffolding is abhorrent.
“Falls are one of the most common causes of death and serious injury among construction workers. You don’t have to fall from a great height to be killed or suffer permanent injuries at a worksite. Given the risks it’s quite disturbing to think that anyone would ignore a specific WorkSafe directive to make scaffolding safer.”
Employers should control the risk of injury through falls from height by ensuring:
- The installation of passive fall prevention measures such as railings and scaffolding.
- Workers perform their tasks within a safe area.
- Safety equipment is used to minimise the risk of injury if there is a fall.
- That workplace layout, access requirements, training and experience levels and on-site conditions are taken into account when the risk of falls is assessed.