WorkSafe Prosecution Corner


26 Nov 2018

A building company has been fined $150,000 and ordered to pay reparations of more than $42,000 after a painter suffered major brain trauma from falling from an incorrectly installed mobile scaffold.

The painter, who was brought in as a contractor to complete work at the building company's premises, fell two metres onto a concrete floor, landing head first and receiving fractures to his skull, face and ribs.

The building company had identifued the fall as a potential risk but had no system in place for a pre-work check to ensure the scaffold was properly installed and fit for purpose.

WorkSafe’s Head of Specialist Interventions Simon Humphries said “Temporary work platforms, like the mobile scaffolding used in this instance, should be constructed by a competent person and should be suitable for carrying out the work required of it.

“This case is also a reminder of the obligations for those employing subcontractors to complete jobs. It is reasonable that the painter expected the safety equipment supplied to be safe and the law required [the company] to ensure that it was.”

Key Takeaway:

Identifying a workplace risk, but not following up to ensure it is controlled is not good enough. Businesses need to have systems in place to ensure that risks are monitored, workers are competent and training and supervision are up to scratch. 

Looking for more information on erecting scaffolds? Check out our Practical Safety Advice page on scaffolds.

To learn more about assessing competency, enrol in our Supervisor or Supervisor Update: Training and Supervising Workers courses.