Big fine for Melbourne fatality
A construction company has been convicted and fined $650,000 after a labourer fell to his death during the building of a Melbourne high rise.
Concorp Group Pty Ltd (which is currently in liquidation) has been found guilty by a jury in Victoria’s County Court of two offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to maintain a safe working environment and failing to provide instruction.
In sentencing, the judge imposed a $325,000 fine for each of the charges.
Concorp had been engaged to install concrete formwork as part of the construction of a multi-level apartment complex on Elizabeth Street in the Melbourne suburb of Carlton.
In February 2016 the 54-year-old was working alone on a wooden platform inside an open shaft on the fourth floor of the building when it overturned.
The court was told he fell about 12 metres to the ground and died on site a short time later.
A WorkSafe investigation found the cantilevered platform had been constructed two days earlier by other labourers, but was boarded up on orders of a supervisor amid concerns over a lack of fall protection.
The court heard no other employees were warned about the platform before the plywood blocking its entrance was later removed, and the worker entered the shaft to undertake drilling.
An independent engineer later found the likelihood of a fall occurring was almost inevitable.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said basic safety failures had caused the tragic loss of a man’s life.
“This death could have easily been avoided if other workers had been warned about the unsafe platform, or if the company had made readily available and cheap modifications to reduce the risk of a fall,” Ms Nielsen said.
“Falls from height are one of the biggest killers of Victorian workers and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who do not control the associated risks.”