Companies fined after garbage chute fall

Cheryl Goodenough

Two companies have been fined after a man broke his back by falling through a garbage chute on a Queensland construction site.

Benjamin Said was working on the second floor of a unit block in the Brisbane suburb of West End on March 7, 2018, when he stepped backwards looking for a screw.

He fell through floorboards covering the chute, dropping about three metres.

Ultrafloor Australia and RGD Constructions exposed workers to the risk of death or serious injury, Brisbane magistrate Stephen Courtney said in handing down his judgment on Monday.

"The consequences of the risk could have been catastrophic," he said.

Mr Courtney said the boards camouflaged the chute, instead of minimising or removing the risk caused by the gaping hole. They were also not secured.

Mr Said suffered spinal injuries including fractures and required bone grafts and surgery.

His injuries were regarded as significant, but not life-threatening, Mr Courtney said.

The two companies were fined $75,000 each for failing to comply with their health and safety duty.

Mr Courtney took into account Ultrafloor's early guilty plea and cooperation with investigations.

The company had also immediately addressed its shortcomings.

He said RGD Constructions had failed to appear in court during earlier proceedings, but the company is understood to be in administration.