26 storey pipe fall lands company $200,000 safety spend

August 31, 2023

(Australia)
A construction company has committed to spend almost $200,000 to improve health and safety knowledge and outcomes in the industry after a near miss on a Melbourne building site.

Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd entered into an Enforceable Undertaking in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court while facing two charges of failing to ensure a workplace was safe and without risks to health.

WorkSafe may reinstate the charges if the undertaking is contravened or withdrawn.

In March 2020, sprinkler pipes were being installed on the 26th floor of a residential tower under construction on Queen Street when a length of pipe detached and fell over the edge of the building, landing close to workers at street level.

Multiplex was accused of failing to ensure debris nets were installed to the perimeter of the building and failing to provide information and instruction to sub-contractors that no work was to be performed without debris nets in place.

As part of the undertaking, the company has agreed to produce a series of health and safety videos for WorkSafe’s web site in relation to the incident and to advertise the videos in an industry magazine.

Multiplex will also fund a tertiary scholarship for a student to complete a Master of Occupational Health and Safety, including a research topic focused on falling objects in the construction industry.

The estimated cost of the undertaking is $195,548.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said falling objects continue to cause death and serious injury in the construction industry: “Even a small object can pose a serious risk to workers and members of the public when falling from height. Control measures for falling objects are well known and employers have a duty to do everything reasonably practicable to implement them.”

This is valid as of 29th August 2023.

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