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Prosecution Details

Defendant James Edward Aikman
Trading Name Westeel Homes
Section 19(1) and 19(6)
Offence Date Thursday, 22 July 2004
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employer failed, so far as is practicable, to provide and maintain a working environment in which his employees were not exposed to hazards and thereby contravened sections 19(1) and 19(6) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Background Details

The accused is in the business of constructing steel framed houses including their roofs.

On 22 July 2004 the accused was building a house in Green Head. The house was a two-story house with a height from the ground to the eaves of approximately 4.5 metres. Scaffolding which extended up to the height of the eaves surrounded the eastern side of the house. The west side of the house was not scaffolded at all. There was no other edge protection in place, and there was no fall injury protection system in place.

During the morning the accused's employees were laying metal decking roof sheets on the western side of the house. They did this by laying anti-con insulation onto the roof rafters and covering it with roof sheets which they then used screw guns to screw to the roof rafters. This work was done while standing on the roof. The work was carried out on the western side of the roof so that the wind would be behind the employees, and pin the anti-con insulation down onto the roof rather than lift it up.

During that same morning the employees decided to get off the western side of the roof because moisture was forming on it making it slippery and therefore dangerous. One of the employees finished using his screw gun to put a screw into the roof sheeting, stood up to get off the roof and slipped. He slid down the roof in a sitting position with his right leg in front of him. While sliding down the roof he kicked the gutter off. He tried to break his fall by grabbing onto the extension cord attached to the other employee's screw gun but continued to fall from the roof to the ground. He fell approximately 4.5 metres.

The injured employee was taken to Jurien Bay Hospital and then he was flown to Royal Perth Hospital where he was diagnosed as having shattered his L1 vertebrae. Subsequently he was transferred to Shenton Park Spinal Unit where he spent 3 months.

The accused was at the workplace on the relevant date and was aware that his employees were working on the unprotected western edge of the roof.

The accused pleaded guilty.

Outcome Summary Convicted
Conviction Date 20 Jun 2006
Court Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Mandurah
Fine $7,000
Costs $818.45
Charge Number MH1394/06