A roofing company has been convicted and fined almost half a million dollars in total after a man died and several others were injured in two separate workplace incidents in Sydney three years ago.
Head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann said during one of the two incidents, both of which occurred on worksites at Moorebank, a male worker was handling a metal handrail when it came into contact with nearby powerlines.
“Tragically, the 25-year-old sustained a fatal electric shock and his colleague received serious burns to his legs after he rushed to the aid of his co-worker,” Ms Mann said.
The court heard the risk posed by overhead powerlines was known to Prime Metal Roofing Pty Ltd and its workers had previously raised concerns about their proximity to the site.
“Despite this, young and relatively inexperienced workers were put at risk because Prime Metal had failed to check if the principal contractors had proper safety systems in place,” Ms Mann said.
“Just over two weeks later, another three workers, subcontracted by Prime Metal, were injured when the roof they were on collapsed under the weight of piles of asbestos roof sheets, at a separate worksite.
“Two workers fell about four metres through the roof onto the concrete below, while a third worker on the roof was also injured.”
Last year, Prime Metal pled guilty to charges under section 19(1) and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in the NSW District Court for both incidents.
SafeWork NSW has a commitment to hold all relevant duty holders to account. Perry’s Roofing Pty Ltd has previously been convicted and sentenced for its role in both incidents, as well as Riverwall Constructions Pty Ltd for its role in the electrical risk matter which occurred on 11 February 2019.
A third entity remains before the court for the roof collapse which injured workers on 28 February 2019.
Ms Mann said business owners, machinery operators, and others working in high-risk settings should always take appropriate actions to work safely.
“It is the employer’s duty to ensure that employees are provided with adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to perform their work safely,” Ms Mann said.
“If you’re operating as a subcontractor, that includes ensuring these responsibilities are not simply offloaded to another business. “The law specifically states that work health and safety duties cannot be delegated and an employer cannot just shrug its shoulders and say, ‘someone else will look after safety’.”
Prime Metal Roofing Pty Ltd has a right to appeal the sentence. Workers and businesses are urged to take a zero-tolerance approach to risks of injuries and fatalities in workplaces and can stop accidents before they happen with the NSW Government’s free Speak Up Save Lives app.