Directors of companies involved in construction work need to be aware of the responsibilities they hold in ensuring safety of their employees. Employers have a responsibility according to federal law to provide a safe work environment and safe system of work for their employees, failure to do so may land directors in very hot water, as one director just found out.
A 50 year old former director of a company in Sydneywho was allegedly involved in a workplace accident that resulted in the death of a worker, was extradited from the UK to return to Sydney and face charges of manslaughter for the incident.
According to an article on The Australian, the fatal accident occurred in June 2003 when a 3 metre high wall collapsed and fell onto a bricklayer at the site in North Bondi.
The former director did not escape prosecution despite relocating to England, authorities flew to England to extradite the man last month. The director is expected to appear in court on August 22.
The following post from TheAustralian.com.au explains:
THE former director of a company allegedly involved in a fatal building site accident in Sydney’s east has been extradited from the UK to face manslaughter charges.
The charges relate to the death of a 62-year-old bricklayer on June 16, 2003 when a three-metre wall collapsed on him at a site in Military Road, North Bondi.
NSW police flew to England on July 30 to extradite a 50-year-old man, who they say was the principal director of the building company at the time.
The man was charged on August 2 and bailed to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on August 22.
An employer has a duty to provide a safe system of work and safe work environment for workers according to national safety regulation. This should not be viewed as a nuisance but rather an opportunity to ensure your workforce is healthy and happy, thereby promoting higher productivity levels.
Employers have a duty to employees to provide them with a safe work environment and this involves provision and maintenance of plant and equipment and providing systems of work that do not place the workers at unreasonable and avoidable risk. This safe system of work should not present a health risk to workers on site.
Employers also have a responsibility to ensure the safe use, handling and storage of plant and substances including hazardous materials and waste.
Employers also have a responsibility to keep the workplace in a safe condition and provide the necessary facilities for workers welfare, such as ablution and first aid facilities.
Another extremely important duty that employers hold is providing workers with information, instruction, training orsupervision that is necessary for them to work safely andwithout risks to their health. Employers must ensure their workers receive site specific as well as general construction induction training (The White Card) to ensure that they can handle themselves on a construction site.