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January 2020

Inexperienced worker taken to hospital

Inexperienced worker taken to hospital

WorkSafe v Taronga Arch Pty Ltd (2017)

Facts

On 23 March 2016, Taronga Arch Pty Ltd, a housing construction company was engaged to undertake roofing works on a community hall. A first-year apprentice employed by the company was tasked with assisting with the installation of roofing materials at a height of 3 metres. While on the roof, the worker stepped back onto a skylight and fell into a lounge room occupied by a number of elderly people. The worker was taken by ambulance to hospital suffering from bruised ribs.

Judgment

The Court heard that Taronga failed to identify the risk of a fall from height through skylights prior to the commencement of work on the roof. There was a risk of serious injury or death as a result of a fall from height. Taronga pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a fine of $3,000 and ordered to pay costs of $3,000.

Lessons

Companies must take extreme care prior to commencing work in order to identify all potential risks of harm, in particular, falls from height where a worker with limited experience is likely to be working.

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