Business owners fined $32,500 over lack of fall injury prevention system
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The owners of a rigging and construction business have been fined a total of $32,500 for failing to provide workers with a fall injury prevention system on a construction site.
Michael Barry Fisher – trading as Ultra Speed Rigging and Construction – pleaded guilty as a self-employed person to failing to ensure that the safety and health of a person was not adversely affected by a hazard that was increased by the system of work operated by him, and was fined $12,500 in the Rockingham Magistrates Court last week.
In the same court, Anthony Colin Foreman – also trading as Ultra Speed Rigging and Construction – pleaded guilty to two charges, one the same as Mr Fisher and the other of failing to ensure his own safety and health, and was fined $12,500 on the first charge and $7500 on the second.
In September 2010, a WorkSafe inspector visited the construction site of an IGA store in Bertram to conduct a proactive inspection. Mr Fisher and Mr Foreman’s partnership Ultra Speed Rigging and Construction had been engaged to erect the steel fabrication at the site.
At that time, the construction site consisted of concrete tilt-up panels and a prefabricated steel roof rafter system.
The inspector saw two riggers working at heights of approximately five metres at the site with no fall injury prevention system in place to prevent them from falling, exposing them to the risk of serious injury or death.
One of the riggers was Mr Foreman and the other was under the direction and control of Mr Fisher and Mr Foreman. They were lifting roofing purlins and walking along the rafters, having accessed the roof via an elevated work platform.
Mr Fisher and Mr Foreman were aware that the riggers were working at height with no fall injury prevention system in place, and allowed the situation to continue. Suitable safety harnesses were available on site.
Both men had previously been issued with Prohibition Notices requiring them to provide a fall injury prevention system for their workers – Mr Fisher on four separate occasions between October 2005 and May 2009 and Mr Foreman in September 2006.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today that the case illustrated a flagrant disregard for both the law and the safety of workers.
“These employers would clearly have been aware of their responsibilities with regard to safe work practices, having been issued with notices on previous occasions,” Mr McCulloch said.
“But despite all their warnings, they still did not get the message that they were obliged to provide and maintain a safe work environment for workers on the site over which they had control.
“Fortunately, no-one was injured on this site, highlighting the value of WorkSafe’s program of proactive inspections of construction sites.
“A Code of Practice on fall prevention has existed in WA for more than 20 years. The current code is comprehensive, providing information on the identification of common fall hazards and the correct use of appropriate ladders and fall arrest and prevention equipment.
“Tragically, a total of 15 Western Australian workers have died as a result of falls in the last four years, so I urge any employer in control of a workplace that presents a risk of falls to ensure this code is available in the workplace at all times.”
Further information on the prevention of falls can be obtained by telephoning WorkSafe on 1300 307877. The Code of Practice on the Prevention of Falls in Workplaces can be downloaded at no cost from the WorkSafe website at www.worksafe.wa.gov.au.
Media contact: Caroline De Vaney 9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only).
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