WorkSafe Prosecution Corner

05 Jun 2020

A residential construction company was ordered to pay $15,000 in reparations after a worker fell more than three metres from a man cage attached to a tractor.

A training order was also ordered to ensure the director and workers undertake specified height safety training courses following the incident in April 2018 in which workers were using a man cage to work at a height while building an agricultural shed.

WorkSafe's Acting Chief Inspector Danielle Henry said none of the workers were trained in the use of height safety equipment, or supervised by a competent person.

"They were also unable to identify that the forklift attachment holding the uncertified man cage was not securely attached to the tractor."

"When the fork attachment and man cage became detached from the tractor's front loader, the worker came down with the cage, falling out of it as it dropped. As their harness wasn't connected correctly, the worker's legs were able to hit the ground in the fall."

The worker suffered bruised joints and damaged ligaments to his knees in the fall.

WorkSafe's investigation also discovered that workers had not been given proper information, instruction or training in the use of height access equipment prior to the work taking place. The company also failed to adequately consult, cooperate and coordinate activities with a PCBU with respective duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to ensure the risks of working at height were appropriately managed.

"Workers who carry out work at height should be competent in the identification and safe use of the most appropriate tool for the task they are undertaking. They failed to ensure appropriate plant and equipment was used by its workers, and failed to develop an effective safe system of work for the construction of the shed.

"The equipment used in this incident was not appropriate for the task and no one should have been allowed to operate the tractor and conduct work from height in the manner which occurred," Ms Henry said.

Key Takeaway:

Stop and ask the important questions to assess the risk before starting work e.g. do you have the right equipment for the job? Are your team trained for the job and do they need supervision?

Find out more about the training we offer for working at heights, training and supervising workers and managing risk.