The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Falls from height in shops

Graham Marshall - Saturday, August 18, 2012

The risk associated with running shops is usually considered to be relatively low, but two recent incidents and Court cases highlight the need to manage risk in all workplaces.

In the first example, a company trading as Personal Buying Service Pty Ltd, the owners of a shop in Mandurah (WA) have been fined $90,000 over the death of a female Store Manager

The woman died when she fell almost 3 metres through the ceiling of the Betta Electrical and Gas store in Mandurah.

According to the prosecution brought against the shop owners, the Store Manager climbed onto a shelf to pass down boxes to another member of staff.

She fell and died from her injuries.

Personal Buying Service Pty Ltd, which was trading as Betta Electrical & Gas, pleaded guilty to failing to provide and maintain a safe work environment at Mandurah Magistrates Court.

In a similar incident in NSW, a worker fell through a suspended plasterboard ceiling and was seriously injured at a Coles Supermarket in Manly.

Coles was recently fined $170,000 following a prosecution over the fall,as the company had not undertaken a risk-assessment, yet knew it was dangerous to use the roof-space for storage.

Both examples highlight the need for shop owners to conduct risk  assessments and plan for tasks which raise the risk of harm occurring.

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