2 min read

Company’s culpability lessened by employment of a manager to oversee safety

The Case

WorkSafe Qld v Brookfield Commercial Operations Pty Ltd (2024)

On 17 May 2022, an 80-year-old man visited a 27-storey office building in the Brisbane CBD to attend an appointment with his accountant. The building was managed by Brookfield. The man checked-in at reception on level 4 and advised the receptionist that he was going to use the bathroom before his appointment. The man did not attend his appointment and was not seen returning from the bathroom. After the man failed to return home, his family expressed concern for his welfare. Tragically, the man’s body was found in a disused stairwell near the entrance to the male bathroom the next day.

The building had a disused internal staircase connecting levels 3 and 4 in the building. While the entrance to the stairwell on level 3 had been blocked-off using plasterboard, the stairwell entry on level 4 remained uncovered. Instead, there was an A4 sign fixed to the external door on level 4 that read “No Exit”. Next to that door was another door, which was the entrance to the male bathroom. The door leading to the internal staircase on level 4 had an automatic locking function, meaning that once the door closed, a person would become trapped in the stairwell.

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