Company fined for carpenter’s death

A construction company has been fined $850,000 after carpenter Mario Mancini fell 3.1 metres onto a concrete floor and died on its watch. Seascape Constructions has been issued with five improvement notices relating to potential “fall-from-height” problems on its construction sites since Mr Mancini’s death.

Mr Mancini was a subcontractor hired over Gumtree to work on building a home in Kalkallo in Melbourne’s north.

County Court judge Gabriele Cannon on Tuesday said Mr Mancini’s death had devastated his wife, who had spoken of their life together “full of love and laughter”.

Mr Mancini was working with another man hired over Gumtree on June 27, 2017 when he fell to his death. He was laying flooring sheets on the second floor of the building using a domestic ladder when he attempted to move a compressed air hose out of the way and fell.

Judge Cannon said the law required “a company who employs subcontractors to actively supervise and monitor them and ensure their workplace is safe”. She said Seascape Constructions had “failed to do so” because there were no guardrails and they had not shared the relevant required safety plan – called an SWMS – with the workers beforehand.

Seascape Construction had said it expected the workers to build the guardrails themselves but “it does not appear this was ever communicated to them”.

“No safety procedures or safe working methods were discussed,” she said. “The entire situation was most unsatisfactory, exposing those working on the first floor to a risk that was great.”

Sole company director David Sagor, 49, pleaded guilty at a late stage on behalf of Seascape Constructions to the charge of failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks.

Judge Cannon heard Mr Sagor and his staff had suffered “severe regret”, taken steps to improve their OHS measures on-site and required counselling because of the psychological impact of the death on them.

However, since the accident, the company has been issued with five improvement notices because of safety issues on their sites, all relating to “fall-from-height problems”, she said and stated the company’s approach to safety for its workers seemed “haphazard” and “slipshod”.

Judge Cannon said Seascape Constructions had an annual turnover of about $22 million.


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