The District Court has ordered a company to pay $65,000 after a failure to implement effective health and safety measures led to one of its employees suffering serious injuries as a result of a fall.

The company failed to effectively inform the employee of the risks associated with walking near or on a skylight. It was also found that the company should have placed a barrier around the skylight to prevent employees from accidentally standing on it.

Many will assume that an employee should have known that they could not stand on a skylight, as it might not take their weight. However in this case the employee was only 14 years old, so lacked the practical knowledge of the danger presented by the skylight.

In addition the minimum age of an individual permitted to work on a construction site is 15. They should not have been on the site at all. This was also held to be a breach of the required health and safety measures of a work site. Even if no children were present, the need for a barrier around the skylight still remained to prevent an accidental standing on the weak skylight by any adult workers.

The Court ordered the company to pay compensation to the employee of $40,000, and a fine of $25,000 for the breach of health and safety standards. This is an expensive price to pay for an easily avoidable mistake. It pays to implement the proper health and safety measures in a workplace, as the failure to do so may lead to expensive consequences.

If there is confusion around the proper health and safety protocol required in a workplace, it is wise to seek advice from a professional with experience in the area.


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Alan Knowsley