BUILDER FINED $25K FOR EWP POWER LINE INCIDENT

Aras Holdings, a specialist building company, was hired to construct ten factories in Footscray and employed a sole trader for the concreting work. On April 7, 2022, an employee of the sole trader was using an elevated work platform (EWP) to work on the factory facades. The EWP came into contact with overhead power lines, causing electrical shorting and significant damage to the EWP, though the employee was unharmed.

WorkSafe Inspectors found that the company had not provided necessary site rules, information, or instructions regarding the risks of working near power lines. The company admitted to failing to induct all contractors, provide site-specific training about the hazards, and establish a no-go zone near the power lines.

In court, the company pleaded guilty and was fined $25,000, plus $4,131 in costs. The court noted the company's good character and lack of prior offenses; however, the seriousness of the offense, the inherent danger of the task, and the lack of control measures had to be taken into consideration in sentencing.

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