A NEWCASTLE roofing company has been ordered to pay almost $100,000 after an employee plunged nine metres while working on a Cardiff site.
Phillips Roofing was fined $75,000 while Richard Phillips was fined $2750 in the NSW Industrial Court yesterday after they pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Both parties were also ordered to pay a total of $15,000 costs.
An employee who had worked for Mr Phillips since 1975 fell through a brittle skylight roof panel at the Ranton Street site on April 18, 2007, suffering broken ribs, a broken wrist, a fractured femur, head injuries and amnesia, the court heard.
He spent 55 days in hospital after the incident.
The employee was paid his wages cash in hand and was never issued any pay slips, but the company continued to pay his wages for six months after the accident, Justice Wayne Haylen said.
The victim regarded Mr Phillips as his boss even though MrPhillips’s son was the company’s director, the court heard.
The company pleaded guilty to breaches of the act for not conducting a risk assessment and using damaged or defective safety equipment while Mr Phillips, who was a close friend of the victim, was charged under the act for not attending an interview with WorkCover investigators.
‘‘It can be accepted that [Mr Phillips] was very upset at the injuries sustained by [the victim] in this accident and that the accident caused arguments within the family and the breakdown of a long friendship ... and that Mr Richard Phillips suffers depression and anxiety,’’ Justice Haylen said.
However, Mr Phillips’s reasons for not attending the interview were ‘‘totally insufficient’’, Justice Haylen said.