Construction company and director lose licence following death of worker
NSW Fair Trading has cancelled the contractor licence and permanently disqualified GN Residential Construction Pty Ltd as well as imposed a 10-year disqualification on the company's director Nicholas Kodomichalos after the death of Christopher Cassaniti when scaffolding collapsed in April 2019.
In November 2020, GN Residential Construction pleaded guilty in the District Court of New South Wales to an offence under section 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. Mr Cassaniti suffered fatal injuries after an overloaded perimeter facade scaffolding collapsed on top of him. Fellow worker Kahled Wehbe was also trapped and suffered serious injuries. It was determined at the time of collapse the scaffolding was overloaded with a live load of more than 18 tonnes.
It was also found ties connecting the scaffolding to a corresponding building had been removed. At the time of the incident, the scaffold was still in use despite most, if not all, of the ties having been removed. The court found the absence of ties would have been obvious if a visual inspection of the site had been conducted prior to collapse. However, the last inspection occurred a month before the incident.
GN Residential Construction Pty Ltd was convicted and fined $900,000 for breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 in relation to this incident. Following the conclusion of SafeWork NSW’s prosecution, the matter was handed over to NSW Fair Trading’s Disciplinary Action Unit (DAU), which determined GN Residential Construction, and its director Mr Kodomichalos, were not fit to hold a licence.
In February 2023, GN Residential Construction’s licence was cancelled, and the company was permanently disqualified from holding any authority under the Home Building Act 1989. In March 2023, Mr Kodomichalos was disqualified from holding any authority under the Home Building Act 1989 for 10 years.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Work Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis:
“I extend my deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by this tragic incident."
“The conviction and disqualification should serve as a warning to all contractors to maintain a strong focus on safety on their worksites."
“An independent review is underway into SafeWork NSW including its effectiveness of compliance, enforcement and education.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Fair Trading and Better Regulation Anoulack Chanthivong:
“This tragedy will be felt for years to come. I extend my deepest sympathies to everyone impacted."
“This enforcement action should be a warning to those doing the wrong thing, you will be held to account.”