Carpenter fined $4,000 over lack of fall protection

A self-employed carpenter has been fined $4000.00 for failing to provide fall prevention equipment and edge protection while working on the roof of a shed.

Brendan Keith Purchase – trading as Brendan Purchase Carpentry Service – pleaded guilty to failing to provide fall prevention and edge protection and was fined in the Esperance Magistrates Court last week.

In early 2011, Mr Purchase was engaged by a building company to assist in the construction of a large shed on a rural property at Salmon Gums, near Esperance. When completed, the shed would be 26m long, 18m wide and 7m tall.

Mr Purchase was working with an apprentice carpenter he was hosting under a labour hire arrangement. He was responsible for the apprentice and controlled the tasks he was to perform.

In May 2011, Mr Purchase and the apprentice were working on the roof of the shed, performing tasks including installing ridge capping and roof sheets and screwing the roof sheets into place.

These tasks required the two workers to move over all areas of the roof, from the gutter line to the ridge, using various tools, including power tools.

Neither Mr Purchase nor the apprentice used any type of fall injury prevention system while working on the shed. There was no edge protection, and there were no harnesses at the site.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said today the case was yet another disappointing example of neglecting to provide adequate fall protection for workers.

“Falls are a significant cause of workplace death, and 16 Western Australian workers have died as a result of falls in the last four years,” Mr McCulloch said.

“Falls are almost always readily preventable, and it need not be difficult or costly to ensure that safe systems of work are in place at all times.

“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 including the appropriate selection and use of ladders.

“I urge any person or entity in control of a workplace that presents a risk of falls to ensure safe systems of work are in place and that 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

Media contact:
Caroline De Vaney
9327 8744 or 0408 927563 (media enquiries only)
Follow @WorkSafeWA on Twitter

Media release
19 Mar 2013

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