Another builder has been fined in Everton Hills, Queensland for not fulfilling OHS regulations in providing a safe work environment and safe system of work for employees following an incident that left an apprentice unconscious after falling over 4 metres.
The company was fined $30,000 after pleading guilty to breaching section 24 (1) of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995.The apprentice suffered cuts to the head, knee and a concussion thereafter becoming unconscious. Upon investigation it was discovered that the apprentice removed the edge protection before he fell but the apprentice had not been trained or given any information about safety which made the employer liable.
Read what a post on SafetyCulture.com.au had to say about the incident:
The builder pleaded guilty to breaching section 24(1) of the Workplace Health and Safety Act 1995, having failed to ensure workplace safety in the Pine Rivers Industrial Magistrates Court.
The investigation by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland discovered that the builder who had used a specialist to install edge protection at the construction site had in fact removed the edge protection himself.
It was presented to the court that there had been no training or safety information given to the apprentice about the removal of edge protection which he had been seen doing prior to the fall.
Stephen Guttridge, the Industrial Magistrate, handed a $30,000 fine to the building company and ordered them to pay investigation and professional costs amounting to $2020.
When he formulated the penalty Magistrate Guttridge did consider that the defendant did not have any previous convictions for health and safety breaches, had co-operated with the investigation and had entered an early guilty plea.
The interesting part about this whole incident is that it highlights the emphasis that the law places on worker training. Even though the company had fulfilled their duties in having and installing edge protection, because the worker had not received safety training, they were held accountable by authorities.
Safety training is the most vital requirement for anyone in the construction industry. It is not just a matter of legality but it is also a matter of ethics, because workers who are not trained are going in completely blind to the hazards and risks that a construction site presents them.
There is no doubt that better training and commitment to safety can help combat these types of incidents, especially where inexperienced workers are concerned. Employers can facilitate a shift towards greater attention to safety on site. Employers should begin by ensuring workers are properly trained on general site safety as well as site specific safety. Providing workers with sufficient information, training and supervision in order for them to work safely on a building site is part of an employer’s duty.
Every worker that sets foot onto the site must be in possession of their White Card, it is their passport onto a construction site. It will equip workers with the knowledge and skills needed to keep them safe on a construction site with the focus on general hazards that they may face.