File photo: A company on trial over the 5.9m fall of a roofer didn't install edge protections until after the roofer's death, a court has heard.
File photo: A company on trial over the 5.9m fall of a roofer didn't install edge protections until after the roofer's death, a court has heard.

Safety barrier only installed after 6m death plunge

A COMPANY on trial over the 5.9m fall of a roofer had provisions for edge protection in its job quote and referenced it in its safety policy, but it wasn't installed until after a man fell to his death.

Peter Lavin, his brother Gary Lavin and their respective companies Lavin Constructions and Multi-Run Roofing were charged with reckless conduct, which they have pleaded not guilty to in Maroochydore District Court.

Whareheepa Te Amo, a 62-year-old roofer, fell to his death at a Lake McDonald worksite in 2014.

David Fletcher, who at the time of Mr Te Amo's death was a Fair and Safe Work Queensland regional investigations manager, gave evidence the harness he saw about 3.5m from the body would have been ineffective if it was used.

Mr Fletcher told the court the rope attached to the harness was about 13m, while the distance Mr Te Amo fell was 5.93m.

Yesterday roofing contractor Michael Pairama, who was sub-contracted by Multi-Run Roofing, admitted to lying to police that Mr Te Amo had been wearing a harness when he fell.

When pushed by Gary Lavin's barrister, Laura Reece, he admitted to placing the harness near Mr Te Amo's body to cover up the fact he wasn't wearing one.

Safety barriers were put up following Mr Te Amo's death and it's been a point of contention during the trial whether those barriers were available on site before the fall.

Prosecutor Michael Copley today showed the court a Multi-Run Roofing safety policy which said the "wellbeing of people at work" was a "priority" for the company.

"People are our most important assets and their health and safety is our greatest responsibility," it read.

A Work Method Statement to address falls from heights on the job said the method of control would be scaffolding around areas with a fall risk of 3m or more.

The scaffolding was to include things such as ladders and handrails and guard rails were to be installed around areas where falls could occur.

Harnesses were to be used where scaffolding was impossible.

The jury were directed that the safety policy evidence was only to be considered in the case of Gary Lavin and his company, Multi-Run Roofing.

A quote from Gary Lavin to the Cooroy Property Trust - who own the land and of which Peter Lavin is one of three directors - totalled $284,000 and included the supply and installation of safety rail on the roof.

More to come.



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