|Offender||Perth Aluminium Scaffolds Pty Ltd (ACN 009 133 591)|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||PE44755/2018||8 June 2016||9th November 2018||19(1) 19A(2)||3A(3)(b)(i)||$90,000.00||22nd February 2019|
|Description of Breach(es)||
Being an employer, failed, so far as was practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards, and by that failure caused the death of an employee; contrary to sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
HBF Stadium is a large sporting stadium with a number of swimming pools, a gymnasium, basketball courts and other sporting and entertainment facilities that was built for the Western Australian government in 1986 to house and promote sport in WA.
HBF stadium is operated, managed and maintained by the Western Australian Sports Centre Trust T/A VenuesWest.
In June 2016 VenuesWest contracted external painting works on HBF Stadium to a painting company that had tendered for and won the painting contract. The work to be carried out by the painting company included painting steel masts and stays on the roof of the stadium.
The painting company sub-contracted the scaffolding work to the Accused.
By 8 June 2016, the Accused had erected a number of scaffolds for the painters that included three scaffolds located between the masts on the roof to paint the masts and steel wires supporting the roof.
On 8 June 2016, two scaffolders employed by the Accused arrived at site at approximately 11.30am to midday. They accessed the roof via a vertical ladder to the left of the main entry and some intermediate ladders between parts of the roof to get to the box gutter on the top roof. They then climbed onto the scaffold via a ladder access after stepping up from the box gutter. They began stripping the third scaffold that was at the eastern end. The scaffold had been the first built and they were intending to strip the scaffold, stack the components on a sloping roof on the northern side of the box gutter and re-erect it around a different pair of towers.
The erected scaffold ran between two box gutters and parallel to a skylight that was approximately 2.6 metres away. The scaffold was being stripped from the top down in the following way. One scaffolder would remove components of the scaffold, then walk the component to the northern end and pass it down to the other scaffolder in the box gutter who would walk along the box gutter and then stack the component on the sloped roof north of the box gutter.
The two scaffolders had stripped a large part of the scaffold when they were joined by a leading hand and a third scaffolder (the victim), also employees of the Accused. The pair arrived from a previous job approximately 40 minutes to one hour after the two scaffolders had arrived on site.
The leading hand ascended the ladders onto the scaffold to assist with the stripping. The victim was working on the roof at the base of the scaffold handling and stacking the stripped materials. When the scaffold was stripped to a point where components no longer required passing down, the scaffolders started to strip from along the curved roof, between the scaffold and skylight.
It is not clear how long the victim had been working when he walked in an eastwards direction along the curved centre roof carrying a platform section over his head. The Accused’s Director had just arrived on the roof and was walking along the sloping roof to the north towards Aaron. A painter was on a nearby scaffold.
Both the accused’s director and the painter saw the victim disappear through the roof as he walked leaving the platform section sitting over the skylight.
The other two scaffolders and the leading hand heard something and turned around to see that the victim had disappeared through a hole in the roof and the platform was sitting over the skylight.
The VenuesWest Catering Supervisor was inside the stadium below on a mezzanine floor when she saw the victim fall through the roof and through a void area to the concourse level below. She ran to the guardrail and looked down before phoning for an ambulance. VenuesWest Reception was alerted by other witnesses sitting in the nearby café and also called for an ambulance.
The Casual Events Setup Worker was standing on the concourse level below the skylight void when he heard a loud crack and saw the victim falling from above and landing on the concrete concourse floor approximately fifteen metres from where he was standing. He ran to the victim to help.
The Aquatic Lifeguard and First Aider reported that the victim was initially unresponsive but became more alert after she arrived. He suffered cardiac arrest prior to being conveyed to hospital and died as a result of his injuries.
The victim had fallen approximately 11 metres from the roof to the concrete concourse floor.
The scaffolders working on the roof at the workplace prior to the accident, including the victim had not been provided with:
a) a site specific safety induction;
b) a job safety analysis or safe work method statement specific to the work they were conducting at the workplace; or
c) any information identifying the skylights as a hazard, or indeed identifying the skylights at all.
Most of the Accused’s employees working on the roof at the workplace prior to the accident had not identified the skylights as being skylights.
No rails or barriers, either of a permanent or temporary nature, were placed around the skylights. Following the accident, VenuesWest arranged for the hire of temporary barriers that were placed around the eight skylights on the roof for ten weeks. The cost of that hire, and of the labour involved in erecting and dismantling those barriers was $3,727.44.
Skylights commonly have safety mesh capable of preventing a person falling through, securely fixed directly over the top of, or directly underneath them. The skylights at the workplace had no such safety mesh.
The Code of Practice - Prevention of Falls at Workplaces 2004 states:
a) “…skylights in old buildings… are further examples of brittle or fragile roofing.”
b) “If a person is required to work on or from a roof of material that can break, easily snap or shatter or is weak or perishable, the employer must ensure:
(i) the person is informed that there is fragile or brittle roofing;
(ii) an adequate fall injury prevention system is installed and used;
(iii) training and instruction is provided on precautions to be taken and safe access;
(iv) warning signs are displayed at access points to any work area where fragile material is present; and(v) warning signs are fixed securely in a position where they will be clearly visible to persons accessing the working area.”
c) “Where it is necessary for maintenance or repairs to be carried out on an area containing fragile materials, the employer of those persons should:
(i) inspect the under-side of the work area to determine the extent of fragile material, presence of safety mesh and the structural soundness of the work area and the safety mesh;
(ii) provide individual fall-arrest systems and devices for any person required to work on or adjacent to any fragile material, when safety mesh, safety nets or similar fall protection have not been provided;
(iii) provide training and instruction in the correct use of fall protection and ensure that employees understand the information.”
On 8 June 2016 the Accused, as an employer, was obligated pursuant to regulation 3.57(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 to:
…ensure that if a person is required to work on a roof at the workplace where brittle or fragile material forms any part of the roof then —
a) the person to work on the roof is informed that the roof is in part brittle or fragile; and
b) the person to work on the roof is provided with a safe working platform and safe access way; and
c) the person to work on or from the roof is trained and instructed on —
(i) the precautions to be taken; and
(ii) how and where to access the roof; and
(iii) how and where to gain access to the working platform or access way referred to in paragraph (b);
d) to the extent practicable, a warning notice bearing the words “DANGER — FRAGILE ROOFING — USE WORKING PLATFORM” is placed at each place where a person who is to work on the roof is to access the roof.
On 8 June 2016 the Accused, as an employer, was obligated pursuant to regulation 3.57(3) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 to:
…ensure, if a person is required to work on a roof at the workplace where brittle or fragile material forms any part of the roof and there is a risk that that person might fall through the roof, and if there is no other practicable means of preventing the person falling through the roof, that —
(a) non corrosive safety mesh that is capable of preventing a person falling through the roof is securely fixed directly over the top of, or directly underneath, the brittle or fragile areas; or
(b) barriers are securely fixed and adequately maintained around the brittle or fragile areas.
The Magistrate fined the accused with initial starting point of $130,000 which was reduced for plea and other mitigating factors to final fine of $90,000.
Costs of $2100.00 were also ordered.
|Court||Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth|
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