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Court Summary - at a glance
- Before work is commenced, ensure a hazard and risk assessment is undertaken to identify the hazards involved in carrying out the work;
- Ensure adequate control measures are put in place to address the hazard of working at height. For example: the Defendant failed to ensure that the guardrail was securely fixed in place before any work on the mezzanine floor commenced;
- Ensure that employees are informed when a guardrail is only temporarily fixed in place; and
- Ensure access to a mezzanine floor is cordoned off with a barrier and signage preventing access when a guardrail is only temporarily fixed.
At the time of the incident, the Defendant was fitting out its newly-built commercial premises. The Defendant constructed a mezzanine floor in the premises which is 2.85 metres above the main floor.
On 18 September 2015, the director of the Defendant installed a guardrail for the mezzanine floor which consisted of a sturdy metal pipe construction with an outward-opening two-sided gate. The gate was to allow loads to be lifted up to the mezzanine using a forklift. The guardrail was temporarily fixed in place with seven 50mm Tek screws, it was not securely bolted in place.
On 23 September 2015, the director of the Defendant instructed employees to lift some shelving units up to the mezzanine floor using the forklift. When the victim, an employee of the Defendant, opened the right-hand side of the gate from the mezzanine, the right-hand section of the guardrail became detached and fell, with the victim, to the ground below.
The victim suffered multiple head injuries, including a subdural haematoma, contusions (bruising) of brain tissue, a fracture to the skull and concussion. He also suffered a serious fracture of the right shoulder blade where the bone was splintered in several places, and fractures to the L1 and L2 vertebrae.