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January 2020

Hefty fine after plumber falls 7 metres

Hefty fine after plumber falls 7 metres

WorkSafe Victoria v Transplumb Maintenance Pty Ltd (July 2018)

Facts

Transplumb was a construction company specialising in roofing works. On 19 December 2016, a crew of Transplumb workers attended a warehouse in Albion, Victoria, to repair roofing sheets. While performing the roofing works, a Transplumb plumber fell 7 metres through the roof to the floor below after kneeling on a roof sheet that had slipped away from the timber rafter.

Transplumb did not have any fall protection in place despite the risk of serious injury or death from a person falling more than two metres through the roof.

Additionally, a safe work method statement (SWMS) had not been prepared before undertaking the roofing works.

Judgment

Transplumb entered a guilty plea and was fined $25,000 for its failure to provide and maintain a working environment that was safe and without risks to health by failing to use fall protection when working at heights. The Sunshine Magistrates’ Court also ordered Transplumb to pay costs of $5,283. No conviction was recorded.

Lessons

You should always prepare a SWMS before carrying out high risk construction work. The process of preparing a SWMS will highlight the hazards that may arise during the work, and the necessary controls to put in place to prevent workplace injuries.

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