Construction company fined for OHS breach

A civil construction company has been fined $35,000 after a member of the public was injured after falling into a hole on site and becoming trapped. Pakenham has been fined $35,000 after a member of the public on a late-night walk was injured after falling into a hole on the site and becoming trapped.

Lojac Civil pleaded guilty to one charge under the 2004 OHS Act for failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to health and safety risks and was also ordered to pay $4000 in costs.

The court was told that at around 11pm on 20 January 2016, a member of the public was walking his dogs across what he thought was a flat, clear area when he fell down an incline and into a 4m deep bore hole, which caved in and buried him up to his waist. The man was able to use his mobile phone to call for help and was rescued by the CFA but suffered abrasions and bruising.

The court was told that the worksite, which contained 80 large, deep bore holes ranging in depth from 2.5m to 4m, were not secured to prevent unauthorised access.

WorkSafe's executive director of Health and Safety, Marnie Williams, said Lojac had failed in its responsibility to ensure the public was not put at risk by failing to provide suitable security to prevent anyone from accessing hazards on the worksite.

"Victoria's OHS laws are clear. Employers have a duty of care not just to their own workers and to other workers but to the general public as well," Williams said.

"In this case, there was an obvious risk to the public, so site security should have been installed from day one so the public was aware that it was a worksite. Given the circumstances surrounding this incident, it is fortunate the man was not more seriously injured, or that the incident did not involve a child."

 Image sourced from Flickr cc: Robert Couse-Baker

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