With a rising population and demand for new infrastructure, construction is one industry where there isn't a lack of working opportunities. However, due to the complex and dangerous nature of building, those working on site need to be professionally training and qualified – to ensure the safety of those on-site and the general public.
In a disturbing case out of Downing Centre Local Court last month, a Bondi Junction man was found guilty of four charges under Section 43(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 after falsifying crane licence documents. In court, SafeWork NSW successfully proved the man used the false crane operating licence 29 times between January and June 2013 across multiple CBD and eastern suburb construction sites.
Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy explained that every person who wants to work on a NSW construction site requires the appropriate licence and qualification.
"Cranes are a high risk piece of equipment with significant potential for injury. Operating one of these devices without a licence is both illegal and dangerous," he said.
"The evidence showed that had the fraud not been detected, it was likely to have continued."
How was the man caught?
The man claimed he had a valid national high risk work licence from WorkSafe Western Australia. However, the original document was allegedly stolen so he used a photocopied version.
On further inspection from SafeWork NSW inspectors, the qualification listed on the document didn't exist and additional checks confirmed that the man didn't have any licence from either WA or NSW.
According to Safe Work Australia, a high risk work licence is required to operate any form of crane including tower cranes, self erecting tower cranes, derrick cranes, portal boom cranes and vehicle loading cranes. These licences need to be renewed after several years to ensure the operator is still up to standard.
Public liability risk
In a case like this, there is a two-pronged potential for public liability.
Firstly, with an unqualified and untrained person operating a machine such as a crane, there is the potential for the safety of the general public to be at risk.
Secondly, the work completed with the crane could be of poor standard if an unlicenced person is operating the machine. As a result, the final product could be a safety risk to the public.
To learn more about injuries in public places, faulty workmanship or building standards, contact the consultancy team at Gerard Malouf & Partners today.