Prosecutions

‘ALMOST NO’ HEIGHT PROTECTION RESULTS IN CONVICTION

A PCBU and director have been convicted over a worker's 6.5-metre fall onto a concrete floor after failing to provide personnel with external height safety training as well as a number of convenient and inexpensive other measures.

The incident occurred in June 2020 and involved the removal of roof sheeting and the installation of insulation and mesh on a shed roof about nine metres off the ground.

As two workers were performing the task, the 20-year-old third-year carpentry apprentice, took a step backwards and fell through an unprotected skylight, landing on the concrete floor below and sustaining rib, pelvis and wrist fractures.

The Judge highlighted that no control measures outlined in the State Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 were implemented. The PCBU did not provide fall protection; cover or place mesh below the skylights; provide a temporary work platform for the workers to stand on while performing the roof work; or provide any external working-at-height training.

An undocumented toolbox talk occurred at the start of the day, but there was no instruction on how to access the roof and perform the task safely, or confirmation they understood the risks.

Source: OHS Alert; Wednesday, 27 July 2022 SafeWork NSW v PCW Constructions Pty Ltd & Peter James Woodhouse [2022] NSWDC 290 (25 July 2022)

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