Ballooning company fined after worker falls through roof  

Global Ballooning Australia Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 27 March after pleading guilty to two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company was fined $40,000 for failing to provide safe systems of work and $4000 for failing to notify WorkSafe immediately after an incident.

The court also ordered the company to pay costs of $9,770.

In June 2021, the worker was on a shed roof cleaning gutters when he fell about three metres through a fibreglass skylight to the concrete floor below.

The worker was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a fractured spine.

It took two days for the company to report the incident to WorkSafe.

WorkSafe’s investigation found Global Ballooning Australia had no system in place for assessing and controlling falls from height and no fall prevention measures were in place.

It was reasonably practicable for the company to provide a safe system for working at height, including ensuring a fall arrest system such as a safety harness was used.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said falls from height sadly remained a leading cause of workplace death and injury across a number of industries.

“Last year alone, nine workers tragically lost their lives as a result of a fall from height in Victorian workplaces, while many more suffered serious and life-altering injuries,” Dr Beer said.

“Each one of these incidents was absolutely preventable and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who ignore the risks of working from heights.”

To prevent falls from height employers should:

  • Eliminate the risk by, where practicable, doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.
  • Use a passive fall prevention device such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms.
  • Use a positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system, to ensure employees work within a safe area.
  • Use a fall arrest system, such as a harness, catch platform or safety nets, to limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall.
  • Use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement administrative controls.

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