New figures released by WorkSafe Victoria shows that a record number of Victorian businesses and individuals are being prosecuted and fined for failing to keep workplaces safe.
Recent statistics reveal that 108 businesses and 21 individuals were fined or ordered to pay restitution totaling more than $6.2 million.
Of the 108 businesses ordered to pay fines and costs totaling $5.56 million, almost 40 were involved in the construction industry. They included:
- Frankipile Australia and Vibro-pile Australia, which were each convicted and fined $750,000 over the death of a worker who fell more than 40 metres when the mast of a piling rig collapsed at Southbank in 2011.
- Bilic Homes, which was convicted and fined $300,000 over an incident in which a carpenter died after being crushed by a brick wall on a construction site at Brighton East in 2014.
- Aussie Signs, which was convicted and fined $250,000 over its involvement in the attachment of a timber hoarding to a wall which increased the risk of the wall collapsing at Carlton. The wall collapsed and killed three people in 2013.
Twenty-one individuals were also found guilty of fraudulently obtaining workers’ compensation payments and were ordered to pay fines and restitution of more than $620,000.
“No worker should have to suffer the pain of being injured at work, and no family should ever have to suffer the anguish of knowing their loved one did not get home safely at the end of the day,” said Minister for Finance, Mr. Robert Scott.
“While a court outcome can provide a measure of comfort to the victim or their family, it cannot take away the pain caused by a serious injury or losing a loved one in a workplace incident.”
WorkSafe Chief Executive, Clare Amies, said the record amount of fines imposed for work safety breaches in 2015-16 should serve as a warning to businesses and individuals of the significant penalties they could face if they are not able to comply with their health and safety obligations.
“WorkSafe is committed to improving workplace health and safety and, if it is found that employers have failed to provide a safe working environment for their workers, they can expect to face large fines and significant damage to their reputation,” said Ms. Amies.
“Health and safety duties are not only applicable to employers – everyone at the workplace must take responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others.”
A full ist of the prosecution outcomes is available at WorkSafe Victoria’s website.