Dangerous scaffolding has cost a Queensland construction company $180,000, even though the safety risk did not result in injury.
In September 2007, Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors found level-three scaffolding at a Brisbane Abigroup Contractors Pty Ltd site was incomplete.
The scaffolding, erected by Waco Kwikform Ltd, had insufficient edge protection and there was a gap between it and the external wall it was adjacent to.
As the site's principal contractor, Abigroup was charged with breaching its safety obligations, in exposing workers - and others - to the risk of a fall from height.
An enforceable undertaking in lieu of prosecution was accepted by the regulator in 2010 and published this year.
In it, Abigroup pledged to:
• produce and circulate an industry alert on scaffolding (estimated cost $2500);
• develop and implement a scaffold-specific training program for Abigroup foremen and supervisors,
and make it available to Workplace Health and Safety ($40,000);
• develop a scaffold-specific inspection tool that Abigroup supervisors will use to inspect all
Queensland sites that contain scaffolding, and make it available to Workplace Health and
• prepare and present a case study at industry forums on the risks associated with the interface
between formwork and scaffold trades on construction sites, and key lessons learned ($4500);
support occupational stress-prevention research ($45,000); and
• support the peer support stress-prevention program MATES in Construction ($10,000).
Abigroup also agreed to pay costs incurred by the regulator as a result of the breach, bringing its minimum spend to $180,000. Any leftover funds will be donated to the University of Queensland for its newly developed undergraduate OHS degree, the employer said.