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Prosecution Details

Defendant Santex Plastering Contractors Pty Ltd
Regulation 3.55(1)(a)
Offence Date Tuesday, 3 September 2002
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer at a workplace, failed to ensure that edge protection that complied with regulation 3.55(5) of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996 made under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 was provided and kept in place where there was a risk that a person could fall 2 or more metres from a scaffold at the workplace; contrary to regulation 3.55(1)(a) of the Regulations.

Background Details

The Accused is a plastering company that was engaged to perform plastering work on a two storey office complex at Myaree.

A steel scaffold system had been erected in front of the complex that created a work platform that was approximately 3.3 metres above the ground.

On 3 September 2002 the scaffold had guardrails (including a mid rail and top rail) in place over the majority of the scaffold. However, where the scaffold angled across the front entrance of the complex there was, adjacent to the work platform of the scaffold a void that had been covered by an unsecured piece of timber board loosely seated onto the brickwork. The part of the scaffold adjacent to the void did not have a top rail in place.

On that day the accused was engaged in finishing off the rendering to the outside of the complex. An 18 year old employee of the accused was on the scaffold's work platform performing work on the rendering of the windows of the complex. As the apprentice tried to reach a window directly above the void adjacent to the scaffold, he stepped onto the piece of timber that gave way causing him to fall through the void a distance of approximately 3.3 metres.

Regulation 3.55 provides that wherever there is a risk that a person could fall more than two metres from the edge of a scaffold, fixed stair, landing or suspended slab edge protection must be provided. Edge protection must include a top rail positioned at not less than 900mm and either a mid rail and toe board or a toe board and mesh panelling. Where the top guard rail was missing on 3 September 2002 there was a risk that a person could fall more than two metres, being the risk that a person could fall down the void adjacent to the scaffold, which was more than 3 metres above the ground.

Shortly after the apprentice had fallen through the void, an employee of the accused found a guardrail on site and put it in place in the area of the scaffold adjacent to the void.

When interviewed in relation to this matter the managing director of the accused, stated that he checked the scaffold but must have missed that area against the building.

The accused was found guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 17 Jun 2005
Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth
Fine $5,000
Costs $2,300
Charge Number 28167/04