Bricklaying company and director fined nearly three quarters of a million dollars for work safety breaches

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A Granville-based bricklaying company and its director have been fined $90,000 after one of its workers suffered from electric shock at a construction in 2012, bringing total fines for the incident to almost three-quarters of a million dollars.

The company and its director have been convicted after a 26-year-old bricklayer suffered serious electric shock injuries when he made contact with overhead power lines while installing vertical metal bars into brickwork at a residential and commercial construction site in Hammondville in April 2012.The worker was initially pronounced dead at the scene but was later on revived. He suffered electrical burns to his hands, arms, and torso.

SafeWork NSW charged the company for failing to comply with its duty under section 19 (1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). Its Director was charged for failing to comply with his duty under section 27 of the Act. Both were found guilty in the District Court.

The court found that the Director of the bricklaying company failed to exercise due diligence by not ensuring that the scaffold was a safe distance from power lines and verifying that a risk assessment had been conducted.

“There was a clear risk that the bricklayer could receive a potentially deadly electric shock if they came into contact with the power lines while working from the scaffolding,” said Executive Director of SafeWork NSW Peter Dunphy.

“The Director should have verified that a safety assessment had been conducted, ensured the scaffolding was a safe distance from power lines and advised the bricklayer of the risk.

“Unfortunately, this did not occur and the bricklayer almost died in an incident that completely preventable,” he said.

“Fines from this incident now total almost three-quarters of a million dollars, serving as a strong deterrent to those in the construction industry thinking about ignoring safety laws.”

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