01/08/2019 - 14:07

Builder fined $38k over death

01/08/2019 - 14:07

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The construction company overseeing the 2017 refurbishment of the GPO building in Forrest Place has been fined $38,000 after pleading guilty to charges over the death of a 17-year-old worker on the site.

The construction company overseeing the 2017 refurbishment of the GPO building in Forrest Place has been fined $38,000 after pleading guilty to charges over the death of a 17-year-old worker on the site.

Valmont (WA) Pty Ltd is one of four parties facing charges over the death of Wesley Ballantine.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that persons who were not their employees were not exposed to hazards.

More serious charges have been laid against Mr Ballantine’s employer, Industrial Construction Services Pty Ltd, along with ICS director Adam Tony Forsyth and ICS manager Luke Fraser Corderoy.

All three have been charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment and, by that failure, causing death.

Mr Ballantine died after he fell through a void in the roof of an internal atrium at the GPO building

Valmont was the main contractor for the final stage of the refurbishment of the the heritage landmark building, which is now a retail store.

The work included constructing a steel and glass atrium roof between floors two and three in the centre of the building.

In January 2017, workers were on night shift installing the glass panels in the atrium roof. 

At around 4.15am on January 5, Mr Ballantine fell through an open void in the atrium framework to the ground floor around 12 metres below.

WorkSafeWA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said Valmont’s failure to ensure that its subcontractor fulfilled its obligations played a part in the events that took place.

“Although it was not alleged that Valmont caused Wesley’s death, the company failed in its duty to ensure that its subcontractor was working safely, something the company was obliged to do under WA’s workplace safety laws,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“The court heard a Valmont site supervisor had seen Wesley and his manager on the atrium steel framework not wearing safety harnesses and with no other suitable safety measures in place.

“They were called down and told to wear their safety harnesses and personal protective equipment, but there was no adequate fall injury prevention system for them to connect their harnesses to.

“The Valmont site supervisor did not follow his own company’s procedures for dealing with non-conformance and taking corrective action, so the company deserved to be prosecuted over their failure to protect workers.”

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