An Australian property developer was fined after a 16-year old boy fell off a ladder on a construction site. The teen was a part of a program to help at-risk teens by allowing them to work on construction sites. The young man fell through a void, falling to the concrete ground below. He injured his spine and broke his bones. He had been on the site for just two days before the fall, and he is considered lucky to be alive.
Unfortunately, there was no fall protection around the opening. which led to the young man falling once he got off the ladder. If the protection could have been in place, the fall would have easily been avoided.
WorkSafe ACT, the safety organization for Australia, investigated the accident. The investigation looked at induction, training, supervision, health and safety practices and fall protection. After the investigation, the organization decided the property developer did not do enough to prevent the accident.
“In addition, but to a lesser extent, there were also failures on behalf of the subcontractors on the site which are subject to the enforceable undertakings,” a spokesperson for the WorkSafe ACT said.
The property developer cooperated with the investigation and discontinued the program for at-risk teens due to the safety risks.
Thankfully, the teen has been able to recover from his injuries, but let this tragic accident be a reminder of the importance of being alert while on the ladder and of having proper fall protection in place. In addition, remember to train all your employees on the job site. If he had gotten the correct training, he may have been able to get off his ladder safely.
Our hearts go out to the teen and hope he has been able to make a full recovery.