$1 million fine for window glass company

By Jeff Salton on May 11th, 2017

Sydney train

A District Court has imposed NSW’s highest-ever fine on a window glass company – $1 million – after a contract worker suffered an electric shock, causing burns to 30 percent of his body.

On 19 June 2014, the 49-year-old man, a contractor of WGA Pty Ltd (WGA), was installing a piece of aluminium on a window ledge at a residential-apartment construction site in South Hurstville when the power jumped to the metal from nearby 33,000-volt power lines feeding the Illawarra train line.

Prior to the incident, a SafeWork NSW inspector and Sydney Trains had provided advice to WGA about working safely around these power lines. However, the Court was told that WGA did not heed this advice, hence the Court found the company failed to take the necessary steps to protect the worker – such as having electricity to the power lines isolated before undertaking external work to the building.

Following the incident, an investigation was launched by SafeWork NSW and WGA was charged with a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act. It was then convicted and sentenced last week in the District Court.

After the verdict, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean said: “No matter what kind of work you do, everyone who has a job in NSW has a right to a safe workplace.

“SafeWork NSW plays a vital role in protecting workers, through important education programs and taking legal action against employers who breach relevant legislation,” he said.

WGA, the defendant, did not attend court on Friday upon sentencing and has 28 days to lodge a notice of intention to appeal.

Know where else you can find good advice?

In the case above, WGA Pty Ltd allegedly ignored the advice given it by Sydney Trains and SafeWork NSW. But if you’re smart enough to recognise that you don’t know everything about the health and safety regulations and requirements in your jurisdiction, then you need a copy of the Health & Safety Handbook.

With more than 70 chapters covering all aspects of health and safety law in every State and Territory and, importantly, how it applies to your business, the Handbook is just like having a health and safety lawyer on staff.

Full of information, hints and tips, and written in plain English by the experts at Holding Redlich lawyers, the Health & Safety Handbook explains your legal duties to your workers in a concise, easy-to-digest style. Plus, it has downloadable and editable templates to help make your job even easier.

Don’t delay, order your copy now on an obligation-free trial and put it to work. How much money it can save your business is up to you.



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