Significant WHS penalties for local Newcastle business
A local Newcastle company, Landmark Roofing Pty Limited, have been fined $400,000.00 over the death of an inexperienced worker in the NSW District Court by Judge David Russell on 7 August 2020.
Judge Russell found Landmark guilty of breaching sections 19 and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act (NSW) 2011 following the death of a 20 year old apprentice who fell six (6) metres through an old brittle skylight on a Newcastle shed sustaining fatal injuries in March 2018.
The Court found that Landmark had failed to direct the apprentice and his supervisor to use fall restraint systems when working on the roof and to revise safe work methods when undertaking a new task which required workers to switch from working on a solid roof surface to working in a hazard area with no safety mesh underneath it.
The risk of falling from height because of brittle material was a well-known risk to Landmark and was more likely to have occurred because of the inexperience of the deceased.
His Honour also noted that both the supervisor and the deceased failed to attach their harnesses to an existing static line and the employer had failed to instruct and enforce the use of these devices.
This case emphasises the significant penalties that employers may face following a fatality matter and whilst having safety devices in place, such as harnesses, the use of these must be monitored and enforced strictly by employers.