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£500k Fine for Australian Construction Company Following Death of 18-year-old worker

1st February 2021

A construction company has been fined an $900k (approximately £500k) following the tragic death of an 18-year-old scaffolding apprentice, during a scaffolding collapse in 2019.

The investigation into the incident, which we reported here, found that the young scaffolder and a co-worker had worked throughout their lunch break to ensure extra work was completed when the 36 metre high scaffold collapsed. Sadly, as the two workers were at the bottom of the structure, the sheer volume of debris meant that rescue crews had difficulty reaching the victims. The young apprentice was pronounced dead a few hours later, and his co-worker was left with severe injuries.

Sydney scaffolding industry

Reports revealed that concerns about the safety on that particular site had been raised more than a year prior to the collapse, but had failed to be addressed by the construction company in question, making this incident all the more tragic as it could have possibly been avoided.

The incident, which was one of a spate in New South Wales, led to a work at height blitz by the Australian authorities, during which 800 notices were issued for ‘serious breaches’.

Identifying health and safety issues is key to all construction projects, particularly when work at height is taking place. Accidents such as this can be easily avoided by ensuring that the works are adequately planned and coordinated and that they are carried out by competent Scaffolders. Ongoing monitoring and inspection of the work is essential in ensuring that the plans are executed, and it offers a pro-active method of ensuring that any issues are identified and remedied before things go wrong.

If you are looking for support with work at height best practice, speak to our Scaffolding Consultancy team today.