By: Safety Solutions/NSCA

Chloch Homes & Developments, a Victorian developer, has pleaded guilty to one charge of failing to ensure that the workplace was safe and without risk to health and safety. The developer was fined $15,000 without conviction. The Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the fine in the Melbourne County Court, where Chloch was convicted and fined an additional $10,000, and ordered to pay costs of $2500.

A subcontractor was hospitalised after falling through an unguarded void and landing on a concrete floor while installing roof trusses at the development. A WorkSafe Victoria  investigation revealed that Chloch had no fall protection in place at the time of the incident. WorkSafe Health and Safety Executive Director Julie Nielsen said there was no room for complacency when it comes to fall risks.

“There are no excuses for allowing workers to complete tasks around unprotected edges and voids. These risks are well known and the systems of work for eliminating or reducing them are readily available. Falls from height are a leading cause of serious injuries and death on Victorian construction sites and employers must take these risks seriously,” Nielsen said.

To prevent falls from height, employers must consider if the risk can be eliminated by doing all or some of the work on the ground, or from a solid construction. If that is not possible, employers should use a passive fall prevention device, such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms. A positioning system (such as a travel-restraint system) or a fall arrest system (such as a catch platform or safety nets) could also be used to minimise the risk of falls from height. Employers could also use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement administrative controls.