Charges laid after school student's death

WorkSafe Victoria has charged the Department of Education and Training for alleged health and safety breaches. Three charges have been filed at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court under s23 of the OHS Act, for failing to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than employees are not exposed to risks to their health or safety.

The charges relate to an incident in which a student in a wheelchair tipped over at the base of a ramp at Warringa Park School at Hoppers Crossing on 26 November 2018. The seven-year-old boy suffered a head injury and died four days later.

WorkSafe alleges the department failed to maintain the ramp, document supervision and mobility requirements of its students, and appropriately train its teachers in documented supervision of its students. The matter is listed for a file hearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court on 10 February.
Source: WorkSafe media release

Cleaning company fined after worker fall

Commercial kitchen cleaning company, Parkton Enterprises Pty Ltd, was fined $30,000 after a worker was seriously injured in a fall from a roof in Geelong.The company pleaded guilty in the Geelong Magistrates' Court to failing to control the risk of a fall from height, as well as failing to provide instruction and training on working at height. Parkton was convicted and ordered to pay costs of $3,367.

Two workers had been tasked with cleaning extraction fans on the roof a Barrabool Hills church in October 2018. They received instructions about the job via text message from a company supervisor. One of the workers set up a ladder against a metal awning that wrapped around the church, instead of using the designated building ladder access point. After climbing the ladder without a safety harness, he was walking along the awning when it gave way: he fell about 5.5 metres to the ground. He was treated on scene then taken to hospital with a crushed lower vertebra, a broken leg and a dislocated shoulder.

Neither worker had been trained in working at heights and they were not being supervised by anyone who had been. Further, no Safe Work Method Statement had been prepared for the task. Read more: WorkSafe media release.

Another fall, another fine

Plumbing and construction company AAA Above Group Pty Ltd, has been fined $15,000 over a 17 January 2018 incident which occurred when a 21 year old employee was undertaking a demolition of a mezzanine floor at a workplace in Bell Park. Two subcontractors (deemed employees) were also working on the demolition. The mezzanine floor was 2.4 metres above the concrete floor below. The workers accessed the floor via a 2mx2m hole, demolishing the walls whilst working around the hole in the floor.

Clearly there was a risk of falling through the hole.. and in fact, the 21 year old fell through it. He was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with fractures to his C5 and T6 vertebrae, a subarachnoid haemorrhage and contusion, an occipital fracture and post-traumatic amnesia. He could have been killed. The company pleaded guilty and was fined without conviction.

There are two other prosecution summaries provided on the WorkSafe Prosecution Result Summaries and Enforceable Undertakings webpage. To check these and to keep up to date with new prosecutions, check out the page.

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