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IMPORTANT PUBLIC NOTICE

In proceedings brought by SafeWork NSW, the District Court of New South Wales has found that INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD contravened its health and safety duty under section 19(1) of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW) (“the Act”), as it failed to comply with that duty and thereby exposed workers to a risk of death or serious injury contrary to section 32 of the Act.

 

The offence relates to an incident in October 2015 when two workers were left permanently disabled after a suspended platform or building maintenance unit fell about 30 metres down the facade of a Sydney CBD building. INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD was the building manager and arranged for the workers to carry out window cleaning work from the building maintenance unit. When the load bearing bolts of the building maintenance unit suddenly failed, the building maintenance unit fell and crashed into the street awning below. One worker was trapped inside the building maintenance unit while the other worker went over the awning’s edge, hanging by his safety harness.

 

The District Court found that INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD breached the Act by failing to arrange a 10-year major inspection of the building maintenance unit complying with Australian Standard AS 2550. 13-1997 (“AS 2550. 13-1997”), thereby exposing the two workers to a risk of death or serious injury in that:

  • The incident occurred due to extensive fatigue cracking in the load bearing bolts of the building maintenance unit, which arose from the rocking backwards-and-forwards of the building maintenance unit during its normal operation over the preceding 15 years, resulting in the sudden failure without visible warning signs;
  • The purpose of a 10-year major inspection was to identify cracking in critical components of a building maintenance unit, such as the load bearing bolts, that could not be identified from inspection by the naked eye or routine servicing but which could cause catastrophic failure, and this was known by INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD;
  • The building maintenance unit was overdue for a 10-year major inspection, and the longer it was overdue, the greater the likelihood of a catastrophic incident occurring;
  • Prior to the incident INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD was advised of the need for a 10-year major inspection complying with AS 2550. 13-1997 by the building maintenance unit service provider, and failed to ensure that this important safety information was passed on to its facilities manager and senior facilities manager for the building;
  • There was no cost to INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD in arranging a 10-year major inspection as this cost would have been met by the building’s owner, and it was part of the facilities manager’s job to obtain quotes for this type of inspection work from reputable service providers.

The District Court has imposed upon INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD:

  • a conviction for a failure that exposed two workers to a risk of death or serious injury; 
  • a monetary penalty of $400,000 for the offence;
  • an order that it pay the costs of the proceedings; and
  • an obligation to publish the details of the order of the Court.

This Notice is published and paid for by INVESTA ASSET MANAGEMENT PTY LTD in accordance with the Order of the District Court of New South Wales made on 19.8.19 in the proceedings brought by SafeWork NSW.