APPRENTICE FALLS AT DIRECTOR'S HOME: $400K FINE

A NSW court has imposed a pre-discount fine of $400,000 on the sole director of Denbrok Constructions for failing to provide adequate supervision, a fall protection system, or any working at heights training for an apprentice who fell four meters from the roof of the director's home.

The judge determined that the risk of the inexperienced apprentice falling from the director's roof was 'obvious' and 'glaringly so.' The incident occurred in December 2020 during renovation work in Deniliquin, when the apprentice was working without proper supervision.

The court learned that at the time of the incident, there was no supervisor on-site, and the inexperienced apprentice was left entirely unsupervised to complete a roofing task. Workers were not given specific instructions regarding accessing or leaving the roof, which led to them using an unsecured ladder.

The judge also discovered that there were no guardrails or edge protections, and workers were neither instructed nor required to wear harnesses while working at heights. The apprentice informed the Court that he had not received any training on working at heights or on the use of harnesses.

Although the director expressed genuine remorse and implemented safety improvements, the fine was reduced to $150,000 due to the limited financial capacity of the company.

Source: SafeWork NSW v Denbrok Constructions Pty Limited [2023] NSWDC 407 (4 October 2023)

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