A statement from the Work Safety Commissioner: response to sentencing of Nikias Diamond Property Development

Released 09/09/2019

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones has expressed his disappointment this afternoon in the financial penalty served by the ACT Industrial Court on Nikias Diamond Property Development Pty Ltd.

The Developer received a financial penalty of $180,000 and had a conviction recorded. In the Reasons for Sentence, the guilty plea by the builder and other considerations around the penalty were noted.

The matter relates to an incident on 27 October 2016 in which a young 16-year-old on a student work program stepped into an open void off a ladder on a work site in Amaroo. The student was undertaking a school/work-based experience program and fell six metres, sustaining significant injuries.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said that Work Safe ACT was disappointed by the penalty, noting that the particular breach of duty (s 19 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (ACT)) carried a possible maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

"WorkSafe ACT is disappointed by the outcome today," he said.

"The worker involved in this incident has suffered significant and life changing injuries.

"Noting that this incident could have quite easily been fatal, WorkSafe expected a greater penalty in recognition of this and to provide a strong deterrence for industry."

Two sub-contractors that also held work health and safety duties at the site at the time of the incident have already entered into separate Enforceable Undertakings with WorkSafe ACT. This provides a safety contribution to workers and the community of $132,000 for each company.

Mr Jones said that falls from heights remained one of the greatest risks for death and significant injury in the construction sector. Unfortunately, young workers were often overrepresented in such incidents.

Further advice is being sought on whether to appeal the penalty decision.

- Statement ends -

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