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Prosecution Details

Defendant Anyco Pty Ltd
Section 19(1) and 19(7)
Offence Date Friday, 27 December 2002
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer, failed, so far as was practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and, by that failure, caused serious harm to an employee; contrary to Sections 19(1) and 19(7) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The defendant was the successful tenderer awarded a contract to perform roof refurbishment work to a roof in Carlisle.

The roof refurbishment work involved removal of existing asbestos roof sheeting, insulation and existing wire mesh followed by installation of new roof components. The distance from the highest point to the ground of the was approximately 8.5 metres.

The defendant engaged a contractor, Thommos Roofing to remove the asbestos sheeting, heavy duty wire netting and roof insulation and then to install new tin roof sheeting and cut and install new wire meshing in the ceiling.

The defendant's direct employees did the ancillary work such as preparing the buildings by wrapping or sealing any openings such as vents and any equipment located within the buildings with black polythene sheeting and vacuuming the roof space when the asbestos roof sheeting and other associated roofing material had been removed.

The various tasks required to be performed by the defendant's direct employees and the employees of its contractor required them to work on the roof at various times.

The defendant had the overall management and control, over the working environment.

Access to the roof area was achieved using portable ladders. Two aluminium mobile scaffolds were erected alongside part of the eastern elevation of the building and were approximately 7.5 metres in height to the working platform.

The defendant provided a 10 metre static line. Thommo's Roofing provided full-body harnesses; 2 x 20 metre inertia reels; with some D shackles;; 1 x 10 metre inertia reel; 2 x 3 metre retractable inertia reels. All this safety equipment was available at the workplace on the morning of 27 December 2002.

The roof did not have edge protection to all areas of exposed edge of the roof. At no point on or prior to the 27 December 2002 did any person working on the roof wear safety harnesses. On 27 December 2002 a director of the defendant and a partner of Thommo's Roofing went up onto the roof at various times and neither wore a safety harness.

The director of the defendant had instructed the partner running the business of Thommo's Roofing to instruct that Thommo's Roofing employees wear harnesses while working on the roof and had arranged for Thommo's Roofing to provide the harnesses and associated safety gear. Early on the morning of 27 December, the director reminded the Thommo's Roofing's partner of the need for workers working on the roof to wear harnesses. The Thommo's Roofing's partner gave the director assurances that he had instructed his employees to wear the harnesses. Shortly after morning smoko on 27 December, the Thommo's Roofing's partner informed the director that the employees were going to then put on safety harnesses before Thommo's Roofing's partner left the site.

The Thommo's Roofing's partner instructed all Thommo's Roofing employees, including the injured employee at morning smoko on 27 December to wear a safety harness while working on the roof. After morning smoko the Thommo's Roofing's partner observed his employees working on the roof without wearing safety harnesses. The Thommo's Roofing's partner reiterated his instruction to wear safety harnesses. He did not wait to see whether this instruction was followed. Before leaving the site the Thommo's Roofing's partner advised the director of the defendant that he had just spoken to some employees working on the roof without harnesses and instructed them again to wear safety harnesses.

On 27 December 2002 an employee of Thommos Roofing was on the roof assisting other employees of Thommo's Roofing to install new safety mesh to the apex of the roof. The employee was not wearing any safety harness or using any fall prevention system. While the employee was working on the roof he slipped and fell into the ceiling cavity and through the ceiling to the concrete floor below (a fall of approximately 8 metres). The employee sustained serious injuries as a result of the fall. If the employee had been using an adequate fall prevention system, his fall would have been arrested without any serious injury.

It was practicable for the defendant to have provided adequate supervision to ensure that its employees and subcontractors did not work on the roof in the absence of a safe system of work for working at heights.

The defendant pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 24 Sep 2004
Court Perth Court of Petty Sessions
Fine $12,000
Costs $508.45
Charge Number 35933/04