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Court Summary - at a glance
- Ensure that trusses are properly braced and secured so they do not fall by:
- Bracing the first truss to secure it to the structural framework before installing further trusses;
- Installing purlins on sites to brace a structure;
- Installing bracing, such as cross bracing, to trusses early on in the process rather than waiting until the last truss is stood; and
- Having an experienced person in the middle of the trusses to hold them during installation.
- Ensure a task analysis is completed before beginning a job or otherwise identifying hazards;
- Ensure information sheets are read regarding safety nets;
- Ensure a fall from height hazard posed by the gaps in the safety netting is identified and take steps to eliminate or isolate the risk before instructing employees to work on a roof; and
- Ensure employees are inducted onto a site and hazards communicated to them.
Benchmark had engaged another company to provide safety nets as fall protection for the site; however, safety nets were not installed in small places.
On the day of the incident, the director and two employees of the Defendant were erecting trusses to form the frame of the roof. At that time, the victim was 17 years old and had been employed for two weeks.
After nine trusses had been erected, before they were cross-braced, a gust of wind knocked the trusses off balance and they fell in a domino fashion. The trusses hit victim on the head causing him to become unconscious. The victim was pinned down between the ceiling plate and the trusses, with one leg hanging over a wardrobe space where there was no safety net. When the trusses were lifted off the victim, he fell through the wardrobe space onto a concrete slab three metres below.
The victim suffered three fractures to two vertebrae within the lumbar region, a concussion and 27 stiches to the lip.