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Companies could face $1.5m fines after worker fall

Grace Ormsby
Grace Ormsby
12 March 2019 1 minute readShare
Emergency hospital

Two construction companies face the prospect of being hit with penalties of up to $1.5 million each if found guilty of charges related to a worker who fell three metres from a roof.

The 2017 incident occurred when a 31-year-old man was working alongside two others on the roof of a breezeway to remove asbestos sheets from a school building roof in Darwin’s northern suburbs.

At the time of the incident, the worker was crouching on the edge of a void in the roof, attempting to remove an asbestos sheet when he slipped, according to NT WorkSafe.

The man fell approximately three metres through the void onto concrete, fracturing his left shoulder blade and spine, and leaving him unable to work for 14 months, the Northern Territory safety regulator said in a statement.

NT WorkSafe said it will allege in court that the principal contractor, Probuild (NT) Pty Limited, and the injured worker’s employer, Breakthrough (NQ) Pty Ltd, “both failed to ensure adequate fall protection controls were used at the worksite”.

The only fall protection in place was a visual barrier made up of yellow hazard tape stretched between bollards and extension lead stands, it said.

It will also be alleged that after the injured worker was taken to the hospital, the two remaining workers continued to work and “both companies failed to preserve the scene of the incident” as required by the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act).

Each company faces one charge contrary to section 32 of the Act for failure to comply with a health and safety duty, and one charge contrary to section 39 of the Act for failure in their duty to preserve an incident site, according to NT WorkSafe.

The matter is listed for mention in the Darwin Local Court on 16 April 2019, according to a Northern Territory government statement.

Companies could face $1.5m fines after worker fall
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Grace Ormsby
Grace Ormsby

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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