Tasmanian Painter Dies Due to WHS Negligence

by Aug 22, 2022All Posts, WH&S

In August 2020, a sub-contractor of a Launceston painting and decorating company died a month after falling from a 3 metre high scaffold. The painting and decorating company are being charged with five offences relating to the death of the sub-contractor, as it is alleged that the individual was NOT trained in the use of the scaffold and that no Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) had been prepared or made accessible to employees at the time. The charges further relate to the companies inability to produce the SWMS document upon request and the lack of evidence that such had been prepared, let alone regularly reviewed in accordance with WHS legislation.

A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is a current and easily accessible document that defines the high risk activities associated with particular workplace tasks, equipment, plant or substances, informing all individuals within the workplace (volunteers, employees, and contractors), of the hazards that arise from use and defines the measures that have been put in place to control or manage these.

The company being charged are a subcontractor to another business, that are also being charged as they failed to obtain a copy of the SWMS for the high risk construction prior to the undertaking of works. The ongoing court proceedings have had substantial repercussions to both companies and all employees and families affected by the tragic incident, with all continuing to linger as the court recently adjourned until the 11th of October 2022.

The takeaway from this unfortunate event is, do not let the production of a simple document be the cause of mishap within your business creating you unwarranted stress and potential loss to workplace culture, reputation, and income.  This incident demonstrates the necessity for businesses to provide ample documentation, training, instruction and in some cases supervision, not to simply ‘comply’ with policy but to ensure that employees are competent and safe!

If you need assistance in reviewing your WHS practices, SWMS documentation, or find it difficult in navigating the continuously changing WHS legislation, our WHS specialists can help you in auditing current practice and assist you in implementing processes for compliance. Do not let a simple effort, such as a phone call to us at Assurance HR Management be the fault of your future negligence. Call us today on 1800 577 515 and let us solve your workplace problems!

You May Also Like…