Fined by court despite no injury to workers
WorkSafe Victoria v Fountain Downs Pty Ltd (2016)
On 25 March 2015, Fountain Downs Pty Ltd was constructing a two-storey residential house when a WorkSafe Victoria inspector attended the workplace and observed that workers on the second level balcony were not protected from a fall risk. There were no hand rails on the scaffold and the workers were working in close proximity to the edge.
A prosecution was brought against Fountain Downs despite the fact there were no injuries. However, there was a risk of death or serious injury due to a person being able to fall more than 2 metres. (When working from the scaffold, the risk of falling to the ground was in excess of 5.5 metres).
Fountain Downs was not fined in this case, but granted an adjourned undertaking for a period of 12 months. The company was ordered to pay $3,000 to the Court to be returned at the conclusion of the 12 months. It was also ordered to pay costs of $3,386.
You should be aware that there can be a breach of the safety laws even if no injury occurs. You need to be vigilant to ensure your workers are protected at all times.
Please note: Case law is reported as correct and current at time of publishing. Be aware that cases in lower courts may be appealed and decisions subsequently overturned.
From the experts behind the Health & Safety Handbook, the Bulletin brings you the latest work health and safety news, legal updates, case law and practical advice straight to your inbox every week.