A scaffolder located in Perth failed to take reasonable care in erecting a scaffold. Mr Allen, an employee of the scaffolding company, added a third lift to the steel-framed and steel-planked scaffold that
had previously been erected around the building site. However, this lift collapsed when a bricklayer’s labourer was working on it, causing the labourer to fall to the ground and dislocate his shoulder.
Mr Allen had failed to tie the narrow frames of the scaffolding onto the rest of the scaffold around the building, so the lift was effectively left free-standing.
Mr Allen was charged and fined $2,000. The Court heard that Mr Allen held a high-risk work licence in basic and advanced scaffolding and had done so for a number of years, so his employer had every reason to believe that he would complete the job to the standard required. The Court found that Mr Allen’s failure to erect the scaffold in a stable manner led to a completely avoidable injury.
The decision highlights that a business is entitled to rely on experienced and qualified workers to follow safe work procedures, including to erect scaffolding in a safe manner. The decision to prosecute the individual who failed to take proper care for other workers also highlights the importance of each worker complying with their work health and safety duty.
In the course of constructing a multi-unit residential project for Shangri-La Construction, the crane crew was loading a pack of prefabricated beams from the west side to the east site of the first floor. A crane crew member
went to the upper level to assist another worker with landing the load. He climbed an access ladder on a scaffold and stepped on a rafter that had not been probably affixed. The rafter collapsed and the worker fell approximately
3 meters. As a result of the fall, the worker sustained leg fractures and a head laceration.
The Magistrates’ Court in Melbourne convicted the business for failing to maintain the workplace under its management and control in a condition that was, so far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risks to health. The Court imposed a fine of $20,000.
Businesses that are involved in the management of third parties, such as contractors, need to implement effective systems of supervision to ensure that one contractor does not expose another top the risk of injury.