Easy OHS

Obligations of principal contractors

Sunday, May 03, 2009

On the 29th April 2009 the NSW IRC fined a principal contractor $75,000 in relation to the death of a sub-contract roofing employee who fell 12 metres through a skylight panel without a harness. The sub-contractor responsible for the employee was also fined.

The court re-affirmed the obligation on major contractors to ensure compliance with workplace safety requirements, including the requirements for working at heights safety.

The court heard evidence that although a safe work procedure had been in place for installing the metal roofing sheets and a number of workers had read and signed onto the safe work procedure, the worker killed had not been shown the safe work procedure and had not signed onto it.   In addition the major contractor had not adequately controlled the risk of brittle skylight panels despite being aware of their presence on the roof.  This was in breach of OHS regulations.

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