A former company director was ordered to pay reparations of $100,000 to the victim’s family after the subcontractor he hired for a spray-painting job fell from a roof to his death. A WorkSafe investigation found that the contractor had not adequately ensured that safety measures were in place to prevent this death from happening.

WorkSafe further found that there was no scaffolding in place to ensure the subcontractor’s safety, and the former director did not check whether the subcontractor had been trained to use a harness, or whether he had used one before. Given the nature of the work, it was clear that the former director had failed to exercise due diligence to ensure the subcontractor’s safety.

As the company went into liquidation shortly following the incident, the company director was prosecuted personally for failing his subcontractor. While in most instances the company would be prosecuted rather than the individual, putting the company into liquidation does not necessarily absolve a former director’s rights and responsibilities to their workers.

The maximum fine that could have been imposed was $300,000, but in this instance a fine of $100,000 was imposed due to the former director’s financial circumstances.

To avoid this issue, companies hiring subcontractors to perform manual labour must ensure that adequate health and safety measures are in place to prevent injuries. If you are unsure what measures are necessary, or what your rights are, get in touch with a legal representative experienced in this area of the law.


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Author Sarah Jamieson