Report from Down Under:

Contractors have been put on notice: ensure you use fall protection systems, or face fines.

In May 2011, a WorkSafe WA inspector observed a self-employed roofing contractor working on a roof at a construction site in Mandurah. He had been engaged by a roofing company to fit all the roofing material, including flashing and capping.

The roof was on a single-storey tilt-up panel warehouse, with a height of 6.5m. The inspector observed that the contractor was not wearing any fall injury prevention system, and did not have any edge protection in place. A harness and anchor points were found in the contractor’s vehicle.

The inspector issued a Prohibition Notice to stop the contractor from carrying out any further work on the roof without an adequate fall prevention system.

Between 2005 and 2008, the same contractor had been issued with five Prohibition Notices in relation to working at heights without an adequate fall prevention system.

According to WorkSafe WA, it was disappointing that there were still people in the building trade who did not take the risk of falls seriously, assuming that they will not fall.

This is despite falls being a significant cause of workplace death, with 16 Western Australian workers dying as a result of falls in the last four years.

The contractor was fined $2500 for working on a roof without an adequate fall prevention system.