Builder fined 22K over apprentice’s serious injury

A builder in WA has been fined $ 22,000 following a fall incident in 2017.

An apprentice fell six metres from trestle scaffolding and suffered serious injuries last year. The victim was part of a team completing work on a two-storey timber-framed house in Two Rocks.

The apprentice sustained severe facial injuries requiring surgery to insert a steel plate in his cheek, a fractured left wrist and concussion.

The builder pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and was fined in the Joondalup Magistrates Court on Friday.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Ian Munns said employers should always take necessary precautions to prevent falls in the workplace.

“The apprentice involved in this incident is very fortunate not to have lost his life in the six-metre fall,” said Mr. Munns.

“Over the past 10 years, 28 Western Australian workers have lost their lives as the result of work-related falls, with a number of workers sustaining permanent and life-changing injuries in falls.

Mr. Munns said scaffolding was erected at the site two days after the incident to prevent the fall hazard.

“Unfortunately, this was done two days too late for the apprentice who was so seriously injured,” he said.

“The Code of Practice – Prevention of Falls at Workplaces has been in use in WA since 2004, and should be followed by anyone who has a duty to prevent falls at workplaces.

“This code provides practical advice on the safe systems of work that should be in place where the risk of falls exists.

“It is well known – especially in the construction industry – that working at heights is hazardous and that unprotected edges present a significant risk to workers.

“The various means of removing or mitigating the risks are also well known throughout the industry, and control measures and equipment to minimise the risk of falls are readily available for a reasonable cost.

“Employers need to be aware of all the laws involved when there is a fall risk at their workplace and ensure they have suitable safe work procedures in place.”

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