THE family of a young apprentice roof plumber who died after falling through a roof at a Mayfield West construction site, said everyone involved - including his employer - was suffering following the tragic accident.
The NSW District Court found Brayden Asser's employer, Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd, guilty of negligence and fined the Elermore Vale company $400,000 last week.
SafeWork NSW took the company to court over the accident, claiming it was negligent by failing to ensure the use of a fall restraint system was in place.
But Mr Asser's oldest brother, Joshua Bradley, told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday the family took no solace from the fine.
He said there were no winners in the tragedy, and everyone involved had lost.
"We understand that sentences and fines need to be imposed by the courts, but nothing will bring Brayden back," he said.
"This has impacted everyone involved, including Landmark and the owner Dean [Beacher], it's devastated us all.
"I'm not the first person to say this and I won't be the last, but everybody has to take responsibility on job sites for the safety of workers. Everyone from the CEOs to the workers on the ground, we need to do better."
Landmark Roofing pleaded not guilty, but NSW District Court judge David Russell found the company failed to comply with its health and safety duty, fined it $400,000 and ordered it to pay SafeWork's legal fees.
It's understood Landmark Roofing plans to appeal the decision.
Mr Bradley, who lives interstate, remembered his brother as a "happy-go-lucky bloke, who loved surfing and was stoked to get a full-time apprenticeship".
"It's impacted everyone in their own ways, life will never be the same for any of us," he said.
"It's been really tough on mum and the whole family.
"For me when I come home to Newcastle, knowing he's not there, it's just not the same. We all miss him so much."
Brayden, 20, suffered severe injuries after falling more than six metres through a skylight at a Mayfield West recycling facility in March 2018.
He died of a stroke nine days later.
Brayden loved the beach and was a "mad bodyboarder" who spent a lot of his spare time catching up with his "really close circle of great mates".
Family was important to him, too, as was his career.
In an unusual turn of events, Mr Bradley, his mother Maryann Bradley-Asser and aunt and uncle, Jodie and David Calvert, all gave character references for the owner of the roofing company, Dean Beacher.
Mr Bradley said Mr Beacher had been severely impacted by his brother's death and his family did not believe any one person was to blame.
He said knowing Mr Beacher's young family could be financially crippled by the fine, only added to his family's grief.
The court heard Landmark Roofing usually did about 70 jobs a year and had been operating in the Hunter for 16 years.
Prior to the accident, the company had not been issued with any notice, sanction or infringement in relation to work health and safety.
Mr Beacher gave evidence that walking into the intensive care unit to meet Brayden's family, while the first-year apprentice lay in a critical condition following the accident, was the "hardest thing he has ever done in his life".
"The events of the day of the incident will stay with him forever," the court heard.
"He is no longer sure he will be able to continue to own and operate a roofing company into the future.
"He now second-guesses every single business decision he makes and experiences concentration difficulties when planning quotes for jobs.
"He struggles to walk into his office each day as it is the location where he received the news of what happened to Mr Asser."
Mr Bradley said Mr Beacher had stayed in contact with the family since the accident, especially his mother, proof that it was not only his family suffering.
"It's been the worst thing we have all ever dealt with," he said.
"We would never want anyone else to have to go through this."
Mr Bradley said the family took comfort from knowing Brayden was an organ donor.
"That is something that definitely helps us," he said.
"Brayden contributed to six other people's lives and that is something we can hold onto."
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