Company fined over garbage chute fall

A Queensland construction company and its director have been fined after a worker injured his back falling through a garbage chute opening on a building site.

Simon Epraim Newitt and Steel Construct Australia were earlier found guilty of exposing workers to the risk of death or serious injury by failing to ensure their health and safety on the site of a 77-unit block under construction in 2018.

The company was fined $90,000 and Newitt $8000 in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Friday.

Benjamin Said was working on the second floor of the block in the Brisbane suburb of West End on March 7 when he fell through boards covering the opening for the chute, dropping about three metres.

He suffered serious injuries to his back with ongoing issues two-and-a-half years later.

The trial heard boards covering the 615mm by 780mm hole had “no standing” and “peno” for penetration handwritten on them. They weren’t fixed to the floor.

The risk the penetration posed to workers was obvious and the way it was addressed “rudimentary”, magistrate Rosemary Gilbert said in handing down the sentence.

“It was foreseeable a worker could fall through it and sustain a serious injury or die,” she added.

Ms Gilbert said she took into account Newitt and Steel Construct Australia were found guilty after a trial, but the matter was remedied quickly after the incident and there was no evidence of further breaches.

“That of itself demonstrates the deterrence has been played out already,” she told Newitt.

Steel Construct Australia was engaged by NSW firm Ultrafloor to install the flooring system on the site. Mr Said was contracted by Steel Construct Australia through a labour hire company.

Ultrafloor Australia and RGD Constructions were previously fined $75,000 each for failing to comply with their health and safety duty over the incident.

Source: Yahoo News

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