Construction company fined $15,000 after supervisor falls down stairwell void
Pivot Construction Group Pty Ltd was the principal contractor of a workplace in Cranbourne East where 76 townhouses were being constructed. The company engaged a third party to undertake the flooring, framing and installation of prefabricated pine roof trusses.
In one of the townhouses there was a stairwell void that had not been fitted with a landing, or with safety railing, creating a risk of fall.
On 3 October 2017 there were three supervisors onsite when three units of trusses were delivered by truck. These were in packs of 10-12 trusses. Each truss weighed about 20-25 kilograms, spanned about 7-8 metres and about 0.6 metres in height. Using a crane that was fitted to the rear of the truck, the truck driver unloaded the trusses, lifted and placed the trusses onto the top plate of the wall frame of the first floor of the townhouse.
One of the supervisors, responsible for OHS safety on site, entered the partly constructed townhouse, used a secured internal ladder to climb up onto the first floor, and walked along the flooring where the trusses were being landed by the crane in order to check on their position to ensure they were in the correct location. Whilst the third pack of trusses was being unloaded, the supervisor stepped backwards and inadvertently into the unprotected stairwell void. He fell onto a concrete slab 2.4 metres below suffering injury to his shoulder and lacerations to his head. He was aware that townhouse did not have access to the upstairs area and did not follow the correct method of work when the trusses were being unloaded. A stair void platform was due to be installed the next day - that is, after the roof trusses delivery.
As principal contractor, Pivot had control over stairwell void protection. The company pleaded guilty, thus acknowledging it had failed to reduce the risk of fall by taking a number of practicable measures. Despite the guilty plea, the company was, without conviction, sentenced to pay a fine of $15,000 plus $4,248 in costs.
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