Bitter-sweet result for Mt Warrigal mum

Laurelle Rankmore, with son Keiran, hopes a lesson is learned after a company was fined for safety breaches relating to her son’s death.A Mt Warrigal mother, distraught over the 2006 death of her son on a building site, hopes a court ruling against his former employer will raise awareness about workplace safety.Laurelle Rankmore says the $100,000 fine handed down to an Illawarra building company will not bring her son back, but will send a strong message to all employers, supervisors and their staff.”I am pleased the NSW WorkCover Authority investigated this incident so thoroughly and then prosecuted,” Mrs Rankmore said.”If others can learn from this tragedy about the need for safe work practices, something has been achieved.”Mrs Rankmore was responding to an Industrial Court of NSW ruling which penalised CKR Pty Limited for safety breaches relating to a workplace incident in which its employee, Aaron Rankmore, was fatally injured after he fell 5.3m from the first floor of a two-storey residential unit.Judge Anna Backman also handed down a $10,000 fine to Zoran Cvetkovski, the owner of the site where the unit was under construction.The incident happened on December 11, 2006, and Mr Rankmore, a 21-year-old carpenter, died in Wollongong Hospital four days later.Mrs Rankmore said the impact of Aaron’s death on her and younger son Kieran, 20, had been devastating and they were still struggling with overwhelming grief.”To have to sit here every day, hoping and waiting …” she said, her voice trailing off. “It’s been a long 3? years. It used to be Aaron, Kieran and me and now it’s a triangle with one side missing, and it will never be the same.”Mrs Rankmore said she was angry that Aaron’s death was preventable.”There were real breaches of safety (at the worksite). He was a polite, good young man who was down-to-earth and who cared about his family and friends. He had a lot to live for.”A written judgment handed down by the court earlier this month found CKR supervisor Cord Tolson had instructed Mr Rankmore and another employee, Owen Smith, to stack timber wall frames, and while pulling on a frame Mr Rankmore fell 5.3m from the first floor through a makeshift work platform and landed on the floor below.In the judgment, Justice Blackman said the first-year carpenter was inadequately supervised on the day of the incident.She also said Mr Cvetkovski’s failure to have safe procedures in place was a serious omission.
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