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Incorrect scaffold installation results in $80K fine for builder

A Northern Queensland building company and its director were hit with fines totalling $80,750 for health and safety breaches that caused fractures to a worker’s leg.

A state school had hired Mission Beach Constructions to demolish a building which involved removing asbestos and steel beams from the school’s roof.

While removing the steel beams, workers had leaned three of them against the mobile scaffolding they were using. As the brakes didn’t work properly, the weight of the beams moved the scaffolding, causing a worker to plunge about two metres.

When he hit the ground, one of the beams fell on his leg, fracturing it in two places.

After the Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor examined the site, he also noted that the company did not install side rails to the scaffolding or complete an appropriate safe work method statement.

The company was fined $68,250 and its director $12,500, as well as prosecution costs of nearly $1100.

Cairns Magistrates Court’s Magistrate said the “need for general deterrence and protection of the worker is paramount in the penalty”.

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