Towards Zero Pty Ltd pleaded guilty on Thursday in the Sale Magistrates’ Court to failing to ensure persons other than employees were not exposed to risks to their health and safety.
The company was also ordered to pay $1875 in costs.
The court heard that skip bins at the company’s Kilmany Resource Centre were located beneath elevated concrete platforms where users could park their vehicles and drop waste into the bins.
A woman had been unloading material from the back of a ute when she slipped and fell between two guard rails as she was climbing down from the vehicle’s tray.
She landed on the bottom of a skip bin, fracturing several ribs and injuring her spine.
A WorkSafe investigation found that guard rails had been moved to widen the gap between them at the edge of the platform, leaving enough space for a person to fall through.
There was also no instruction directing users how to dispose of waste safely.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the injured woman was lucky to be alive after falling more than two metres.
“Falls from height are one of the biggest causes of injury and death in Victorian workplaces and these risks should always be taken seriously,” Ms Nielsen said.
“Every employer must consider the dangers of unguarded edges or steep drops and take every reasonable step to reduce risks to the health and safety of workers and the public.”
To prevent falls from height employers can:
- Eliminate the risk by, where practicable, doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.
- Use a passive fall prevention device such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms.
- Use a positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system, to ensure employees work within a safe area.
- Use a fall arrest system, such as a harness, catch platform or safety nets, to limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall.
- Use a fixed or portable ladder, or implement administrative controls.