OHS Prosecutions

PB Construction Services Pty Ltd (in liquidation)

PB Construction Services, which is now in liquidation, have been ordered to pay a fine of $100,000 plus court costs following an incident where an employees hand was cut open.

The incident took play in December 2017 at The Glen shopping centre in Melbourne, which was undergoing renovations at the time. During the renovations, a decision was made to use 5.5 tonne Case Excavator to undertake the task using a "ripper" attachment to remove a metal plate. However the plate shifted during the process, and fell towards a worker, who moved backwards quickly, but still suffered a laceration on his hand, which was embedded with steel along with bruising and crushing of the man's arm.

The company had not prepared a SWMS for the work, instead opting for a simple tool box meeting. The lack of a SWMS prompted the $100,000 fine for PB Construction.

It was found that:

It was reasonably practicable for the offender to have provided or maintained a system of work that was safe and without risks to health by:

  1. Securing the metal plate so that it could not move, including by using an excavator with a "grabber" attachment; and/or
  2. Using an appropriate length 'oxy wand' to increase distance from any movement of the metal plate.

The offender failed to implement either of these measures.

Simcat Enterprises Pty Ltd

On the Friday, 8 September 2017, a contractor working for Simcat enterprises fell through a skylight on a Toorak property he was working on a renovation on at approximately 7:30am, after the systems of work on the build diverged from what was on the SWMS.

There had been a dispute with neighbours of the property, concerning the amount of dust the disposal of work materials was creating, which led to the system of work changing in order to satisfy the Toorak local.

He fell about 2.5 metres to the concrete below and suffered a spinal fracture, serious head trauma and post traumatic amnesia. He did not make a statement.

The business pleaded guilty at an early opportunity, and was hit with a fine of $75,000 plus court costs of over $5,000.

Interestingly, the report from WorkSafe states that if the company had pleaded not guilty, but then been found guilty through a court process, they would have been sentenced to a fine of $120,000, minimum, with conviction.

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