First imprisonment under WA’s Workplace Safety and Health laws

The director of a shed building company has become the first person to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment under WA’s tougher workplace safety and health laws.

The director the company was sentenced to two years and two months’ imprisonment following the 2020 death of a young worker and the serious injury of another.

The charges included one of gross negligence, for which the company was fined $550,000.

The fines are the highest under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, following the McGowan Government’s increase in penalties for breaches of the workplace safety laws in  2018.

Two workers were installing roof sheets on a large machinery shed they were constructing  on a farm without safety control measures in place. A strong wind lifted a sheet from the pack of roof sheets they were working near, causing them both to fall.

One man fell approximately nine metres from the apex of the roof, suffering fatal injuries, while the other fell around seven metres from the roof’s edge near the gutter line, suffering multiple fractures of the pelvis, hip, wrist and ribs.