Worker Falls to His Death – Company Fined $65,000

Yet another worker has died from a fall sustained on a construction site, this time the incident took place on a site near Esperance and resulted in a fine of $65,000 for the company responsible.

The incident which took place in March 2011, happened when 5 workers were tasked with constructing a steel shed at a Farm in Salmon Gums.

The workers applied wall cladding and roof sheeting to the structure and also fitted the skylights and tacked them in place temporarily with small screws. While working on the roof one of the workers stepped onto a polycarbonate sheet which gave way, causing him to fall 7 meters to the ground. There was no fall protection in place and the worker did not survive the fall.

This excerpt from a post on SafetyCulture.com.au explains further:

roofAccording to investigations, the company began constructing a steel shed at Wye Farm in Salmon Gums in March 2011. Steel frame of the shed was erected in May and the wall cladding and roof sheeting was installed. Five workers were tasked to do the job.

On May 31, the roof sheets and skylights were put into place and tacked down with small screws to temporarily hold them. Workers proceeded to permanently fix the sheets in place after lunch.

One of the workers had to cross the roof to retrieve the screws for the polycarbonate skylights from the other side of the roof. He stepped from a zincalume sheet over the ridge and onto a polycarbonate sheet but the sheet gave way and he fell around seven metres to the ground and died.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/10/company-pleaded-guilty-over-fall-death/

What makes this incident so troubling is that there was no safety mesh installed under the roof and no edge protection was installed. The workers also did not have access to harnesses. WorkSafe WA Commissioner, Lex McCulloch conveyed his disappointment over the incident especially because employers are still neglecting to protect their workers from fall injuries despite it being totally preventable.

McCulloch explained that while fall protection was neither difficult nor expensive to implement, employers were still failing to do so. The post went on to detail more of Mr McCulloch’s statement:

“In this case, there was no mesh, no edge protection and no harnesses – it really was just a tragedy waiting to happen.

“After the incident, the company bought two rolls of safety mesh that cost $80 a roll, along with two roofer’s kits containing static lines and harnesses for $450.00 each.

“This is not a huge outlay to prevent a fall, and unfortunately it was made too late for the worker who lost his life on this job.

“Falls are a significant cause of workplace death, and 17 Western Australian workers have died as a result of falls in the last four years.  Many others have been seriously and permanently injured as a result of preventable falls.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/10/company-pleaded-guilty-over-fall-death/

The Commissioner went on to explain that a Code of Practice on fall prevention has existed in the state for more than 20 years and the code that currently exists is comprehensive and provides employers with information on the identification of the most common fall hazards. Employers have been urged once again to ensure that safe systems of work are implemented especially where there is a risk for a worker to fall from a height.

 

Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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