“Measures used to control a risk need to be effective in order to prevent an incident from occurring,” Burgess said. “Scaffolding planks available at the worksite could have been better used to manage the risk of falls by covering the skylight openings and creating a stable work platform.”
The injured worker slipped and fell at the first skylight opening and required an ambulance to transport him to hospital. Instead of stopping work and preserving the incident scene until an NT WorkSafe inspector arrived, the two remaining workers continued to put themselves at risk, working over an additional six skylight openings without adequate fall prevention measures in place.
“Employers and workers have responsibilities regarding workplace health and safety under the Territory’s laws,” Burgess said. “Because these responsibilities were not taken seriously, a worker required surgery and was unable to work for over a year because of his injuries.”
During sentencing, Chief Judge Dr John Lowndes said if one defendant failed to observe a policy or guideline but the other picked it up, the matter would not be before the courts today. Dr Lowndes went on to say the responsibility needed to be shared and found each company was equally culpable for what occurred.