WA’S FIRST IMPRISONMENT FOR WORKPLACE DEATH

What Happened?

Mark Thomas Withers owned and operated MT Sheds, a small, shed building company in Esperance. In March 2020 Jake Williams and Fraser Pinchin, employees of MT Sheds were installing roof sheets on a large machinery shed, with no safety control measures in place. Mr Williams was working at a height of approximately 9 metres on the apex of the roof and Mr Pinchin was working at a height of about 7 metres on the roof’s edge near the gutter line. Neither worker held a High-Risk Work Licence for the work they were performing and neither wore a safety harness. Further, Mr Williams did not hold a Construction Induction Training Certificate (white card).

What was the Decision of the Esperance Magistrate?

MT Sheds was fined $550,000 for the gross negligence offence and a further $55,000 for the additional breaches of the OSH Act (WA) 1984 and its subsidiary legislation. This penalty imposed under the labour government’s increased work health and safety penalties (which were introduced in October 2018) is the highest fine yet imposed in Western Australia.

Considerations for Employers

As stated by the WorkSafe WA Commission, Darren Kavanagh the decision of the Esperance Magistrate should be a “moment of awakening” for employers who do not prioritise health and safety.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store