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January 2020

Incorrectly installed scaffolding causes fall

WorkSafe v Purity Developments Pty Ltd (2017)

Facts

On 3 September 2015, a sub-contractor carpenter engaged by construction company Purity Developments Pty Ltd, was working at a development installing box gutters, fascia, guttering capping and flat roofs. The sub-contractor carpenter, who was working on scaffolding, stepped onto scaffold planks that were neither adequately installed nor secured to the scaffold. The planks collapsed, and he fell approximately 5 metres onto a concrete floor.

Judgment

The Court found that the company did not require handover certificates from the scaffolding contractors as recommended by the relevant Australian Standards. The company pleaded guilty and was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of $25,000 and ordered to pay costs of $2,000.

Lessons

A principal contractor will be responsible for ensuring that a safe working environment is provided to workers on their site. This duty extends to ensuring that any working platform has been certified as fit for use.

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