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“Hole” in Footpath Lead to Quarter-Million Dollar Payout

“Hole” in Footpath Lead to Quarter-Million Dollar Payout

A schoolteacher tripped and fractured her ankle while crossing a pedestrian sidewalk with a large group of students.

The teacher had not noticed or reported cracking/holes in the concrete.

The school tendered, for its defence, an audit report completed by an external construction/safety auditor that made no note of the cracked concrete or the safety hazards associated with it.

These audits, however, were general in nature and not intended to be a comprehensive safety audit as stated within the limitations of the audit:

“…it is not a formal compliance inspection, audit or survey relating to health and safety, building codes & regulations, fire safety, or any other fitness-for purpose issues”

The district court of Queensland found the inspections were Adhoc and that no appropriate safety inspections were completed.

The court ordered the plaintiff receive $241,210 (including a Workcover refund) for pain and suffering, future economic loss and other costs related to her fractured ankle.

This case highlights the need for PCBU’s to ensure thorough systems are in place for:

  • Workplace Safety Inspections
  • Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Control
  • Hazard Reporting
  • Corrective Actions
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