Supplied Editorial
Supplied Editorial

Tradie’s $900k claim against major builders

A CARPENTER injured in a workplace accident has launched a $900,000 legal claim against his former employers and says he wants safety officers to issue more on the spot fines to 'rogue builders'.

Mark Taylor, 47, has lodged a $900,000 claim against De Luca Corporation, along with Brisbane contracting company Action Formwork and his employer Elsco Pty Ltd after falling from a unit construction site in Bulimba in April, 2017.

The Logan Village father was the leading hand carpenter on the Eastpark Bulimba project when he fell 1.5m down an embankment, that lead to the site's temporary access point, onto his right knee.

Mr Taylor was working on the now completed Eastpark Bulimba project when he fell and injured his knee.
Mr Taylor was working on the now completed Eastpark Bulimba project when he fell and injured his knee.

 

According to documents lodged in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Mr Taylor alleges principal contractors De Luca knew the access point was hazardous - but failed to act.

It is a claim the company strongly denies.

"We don't purport that there were any issues with the access points," De Luca managing director Nic De Luca said.

 

Nic De Luca managing director of de Luca developers on-site at Eastpark Bulimba apartments in 2017. Picture: Mark Calleja
Nic De Luca managing director of de Luca developers on-site at Eastpark Bulimba apartments in 2017. Picture: Mark Calleja

 

"We run a very strict safety system on all our projects."

Director of Action Formwork and Elsco Scott Wood said the companies took safety "very seriously" and had completed a full investigation into the incident, but did not wish to comment further.

Mr Taylor, who worked as a carpenter for 30 years, had two surgeries on his knee since the accident but, two years on, he cannot kneel and is in constant pain.

Unable to find work, Mr Taylor has gone from a $120,000 annual salary to receiving $700 a fortnight from Centrelink.

 

Mark Taylor being stretchered off the site in 2017. Picture: Supplied
Mark Taylor being stretchered off the site in 2017. Picture: Supplied

 

"It destroys your whole life, emotionally, physically, financially," Mr Taylor said.

"I've got four kids under 10 who always want to run around and I can't do that anymore."

Figures from Office of Industrial Relations show about 8700 workers' have lodged compensation claims against the Queensland construction industry - 3,500 are considered serious.

Mr Taylor said more regular inspections by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland officers and an increase in on the spot fines would keep the industry in check.

Under the State Penalties Enforcement Act 1999, work safety officers can issue on the spot fines for any offence listed under the legislation.

But Mr Taylor said companies are being given "too many warnings" before the fines are issued.

"There should be no leeway - there should be more on the spot fines," he said.

Shine Lawyers solicitor Bree Smith has been representing Mr Taylor since 2017.

She expected the trial date to proceed in the Brisbane Supreme Court later this year.

"Mark's resulting injuries have ended a successful carpentry career, which he loved, and has had a major impact on his day-to-day life," Ms Smith said.

"It is only right and fair that Mark receives the compensation he is entitled to after suffering from a life-changing event through no fault of his own."