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Companies fined after window cleaner falls 15 metres
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Companies fined after window cleaner falls 15 metres

8 March 2013

Two companies have today been fined a total of $29,800 after an 18 year old industrial abseiling window cleaner fell 15 metres suffering serious injuries.

The young female employee of At Height Limited was lucky to survive the fall from the Lion House building in Newmarket on 10 February last year.

In sentencing At Height Limited, her Honour Judge Aitken found the appropriate starting point for a fine against At Height was $100,000. After taking into account discounts and the small company’s limited financial means, At Height Limited was fined $9,000. It was also ordered to pay reparation of $$32,000 to the employee.

The company that subcontracted the work to At Height Limited, Building Wash Services Limited, was fined $20,800 and ordered to pay $8,000 in reparation.

“This victim was left with fractures to her skull, face, collarbone, lower legs, neck as well as pulmonary contusions and lacerations to her liver. She spent nearly a fortnight in hospital and was lucky to survive this fall from height,” says General Manager Health and Safety Northern region, John Howard.

The court heard that the victim was told to attach her sling and ropes to air-conditioning ducting brackets on the roof of the building. Yet the brackets were not fixed to the roof.

“At Height Limited had a duty to this employee to keep her safe at work. They should have ensured she was adequately supervised, that the structural adequacy of the anchors was checked and that they were capable of holding the required weight,” Mr Howard says.

“As the principal, Building Wash Services should have ensured contractor At Height Limited had carried out a thorough risk assessment before the work began, and required a site specific safety plan – they also had a responsibility in keeping this worker safe.”

 

Notes to Editors

  • At Height Limited pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 6 of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
  • Building Wash Services pleaded guilty to one breach of Section 18(1)(a) of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992
  • The Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 is available online.

 

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