Newcastle building company found guilty of failing to protect workers from falls

A Newcastle building company has been found guilty of failing to provide adequate fall protection to avoid its workers from falling from heights.

30 April 2019

A Newcastle building company has been found guilty of failing to provide adequate fall protection to avoid its workers from falling from heights.

SafeWork NSW Executive Director Tony Williams said the prosecution comes after a SafeWork inspector attended a construction site run by DSD Builders Pty Ltd (DSD Builders) in Speers Point on 27 March 2018, after receiving an anonymous complaint about the lack of safety compliance at the site.

“The inspector found there was no fall protection systems in place around the first-floor perimeter of the building, about three metres high, under construction at the site,” Mr Williams said.

“In addition, four workers were observed working from height with no fall protection.”

DSD Builders was issued a $3,600 fine and given improvement and prohibition notices by SafeWork NSW. DSD Builders complied with the notices but challenged the fine. Consequently, proceedings commenced in the Downing Centre Local Court and found that DSD Builders had failed to minimise the risk of a fall by failing to provide adequate fall protection. The court convicted and fined DSD Builders $5,000 on 8 April.

Mr Williams said the court outcome reflects SafeWork’s ongoing commitment to significantly reducing and ultimately eliminating falls by 2022.

“More than 12,000 workers were injured after falling from a height between 2014 and 2017. Of those, 25 died and more than 240 were permanently disabled,” Mr Williams said.

“Over the past three years, most serious falls were from two to four metres, approximately a single storey. These figures, or any death at work, are just unacceptable.

“This judgement sends a clear message that not only must builders provide adequate fall protection for workers, but that those systems must be used by workers to keep everyone on site safe. Safework’s action plan in finding the best safety solution for specific industries is highlighted in the Work Health and Safety Roadmap 2022. Our top priorities include construction, manufacturing and transport industries.”

For more information on how to prevent falls in construction or to access the Work Health and Safety Roadmap 2022, visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or call 13 10 50.

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