WorkSafe Inspectors have fined a residential apartment developer after it uncovered multiple safety breaches across at least two construction sites in Melbourne.
The firm, which went into liquidation in June 2018, was also ordered to pay $4115 in costs.
The information presented to the court, obtained by inspectors from WorkSafe between 15 August 2017 and 8 January 2018, included observations of people working at a height of three meters on unsafe or incomplete scaffolding, creating a serious risk of injury or death if the scaffold were to collapse or fall.
It was also heard that people entering or leaving the units were also at risk of tripping on steps, colliding with harmful objects, or suffering injuries; five people were seen working within half a metre of an unguarded first floor balcony and roof edge; and people were observed accessing the roof area via an unsecured scaffold ladder placed on material and debris.
At both sites, inspectors saw people working close to unguarded stair voids, with access to the first floors via unsecured ladders in the unguarded voids. People were also observed working close to edges with no fall prevention measures in place at both sites.
The court was told both worksites were also strewn with excess materials, off-cuts, debris, piles of broken plaster, loose scaffold materials stacked in main access ways, and general rubbish placing workers at risk of injury from slipping, tripping, falling or coming into contact with harmful objects.
WorkSafe Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen said it was only by sheer good fortune that before WorkSafe stepped in no-one had been hurt, or worse, killed, on these unsafe and unkempt 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 work site free of slip, trip and fall hazards.”
The total fine to be paid by Erfanian Developments is $80,000 plus costs.