Construction company receives heavy fines

The Geelong Magistrates’ Court has ordered a Delahey construction company to pay over $30,000 in fines and costs and recorded a conviction after pleading guilty to four charges related to workplace safety.

MZK Constructions Pty Ltd was fined $26,000 and ordered to pay costs of $4414 over three charges of failing to ensure a workplace under its management or control was safe and without risks to health and one charge of failing to comply with a prohibition notice.

On their first visit to the company’s Hamlyn Heights worksite, WorkSafe inspectors observed workers at heights of about five metres without fall protection in place.

The company had not inducted the workers nor had it prepared a safe work method statement for the high-risk work.

Further visits led to inspectors issuing a prohibition notice preventing any work on the second storey without a rated guard rail system or stair void fall protection, which was subsequently not complied with.

The court found it was reasonably practicable for M.Z.K Constructions to have prepared a site-specific SWMS prior to work commencing; to have installed perimeter edge protection such as guard railing to the second storey; and to have provided induction and/or site specific training to workers.

WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Narelle Beer said the risk of falls from height were well known and so were the measures to reduce them.

“It is incredibly frustrating that this company repeatedly put workers in danger, there can be absolutely no excuses for not taking safety seriously when working at height,” Dr Beer said.

“This year alone, seven workers have lost their lives due to injuries sustained in falls from height, which highlights the tragic consequences of failing to manage the risks.”