Vic apartment developer fined $80K for unsafe worksites

A Victorian residential apartment developer has been fined $ 80,000 after multiple safety breaches were detected at two if its construction sites in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.

The firm, which went into liquidation in June 2018, was convicted of eight offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act at Melbourne Magistrates Court on 9 May.

The company was also ordered to pay $ 4115 in costs.

The court heard that between 15 August 2017 and 8 January 2018, WorkSafe Victoria attended multiple times at construction sites in Kilsyth and Bulleen. The two worksites were under the company’s control.

At Kilsyth, the court heard inspectors observed people working at a height of three metres on scaffolding that was unsafe and incomplete.

WorkSafe inspectors found five people working within half a metre of an unguarded first floor balcony and roof edge at Bulleen.

The court was told WorkSafe inspectors saw people working close to unguarded stair voids, with access to the first floors via unsecured ladders in the unguarded voids at both sites.

WorkSafe Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen said it was only by sheer good fortune that no-one had been hurt, or worse, killed on these unsafe worksites.

“Working without guardrails or other fall prevention measures at height is a death or serious injury waiting to happen,” Ms Nielsen said.

“And leaving rubbish and debris strewn through a site is another obvious recipe for disaster.”

“There is no excuse for either practice and WorkSafe will not hesitate, even where a safety incident has not occurred, to prosecute employers who fail to protect employees working at height or fail to provide a worksite free of slip, trip and fall hazards.”

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