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Safety Alerts

Company fined for concrete panel storage

16th April 2019

A Melbourne-based precast concrete manufacturer has pleaded guilty to failing to maintain a safe system of work and failing to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for high-risk construction work. 

WorkSafe's investigation found that concrete panels weighing nearly three tonnes each were standing vertically, without support and had been manufactured with only two lifting lugs, rather than the four required in the manufacturer's specifications. The panels were also being lifted by make-shift methods, rather than using lifting lugs that were called for in the design. WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said it was only sheer luck that the panels had not fallen on workers.

Read WorkSafe VIC's safety alert for tips to ensure workers' safety when storing concrete panels. 

SafeWork attends tragic incident in Macquarie Park after scaffolding collapses

2nd April 2019

SafeWork inspectors attended a Macquarie Park worksite on Monday, 1 April 2019, after receiving reports that two workers had become trapped under scaffolding. 

The tradesmen had been working from the bottom level of scaffolding when the structure suddenly collapsed. Another two workers were laying bricks at the top of the structure and jumped to safety. It is not yet known what caused the scaffolding to collapse, however, SafeWork will employ significant resources to fully understand how the tragedy occurred.

Service and Innovation and SafeWork regulator, Martin Hoffman, said SafeWork’s priority is workers returning home safely when they leave for work that day and believes better compliance and education around scaffolding will help to ensure that.

Safety Inspectors to blitz construction sites on both sides of the VIC/NSW border

21st March 2019

Keeping young workers safe and reducing potentially deadly falls at work sites is the focus of the latest Cross Border Construction Program blitz in the Albury Wodonga region.

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW inspectors will visit construction sites on both sides of the border from March 25 to 29 to help keep them injury free.

Collapse of truck mounted concrete pump with boom

21st March 2019

In March 2019, a truck-mounted concrete pump with boom (TMCPWB) collapsed on to an operator.  The injured person had his leg pinned by the boom, causing leg injuries.

Possible contributing factors:

  • Ground under the TMCPWB insufficiently compacted.
  • Underground services not identified. When pressure is placed on underground services such as pipes, they may be damaged causing soil subsidence.
  • TMCPWB not correctly set up
  • Insufficient operator training or experience.
  • Insufficient operator attention to the task of setting up the TMCPWB.

WorkSafe WA's safety alert details how to manage the risks of truck-mounted concrete pumps with booms. 

Tower crane hoist rope and brake failures

20th March 2019

The purpose of this safety alert is to highlight the risks of hoist rope and brake failure on tower cranes. Employers, builders, workers and crane operators should apply the principles in this alert to any crane with a hoist rope. Planning is the first step in ensuring that work is done safely. For example;

  • ensuring that each tower crane can be installed at an acceptable distance away from other tower cranes and concrete placement booms.
  • ensuring the tower crane boom remains an appropriate distance above the concrete placement boom.
  • consideration of proximity to overhead powerlines and appropriate control measures to prevent or minimise risks.

Read more in the safety alert and provided links to 'Tower crane code of practice 2017' and 'Mobile crane code of practice 2016'. 

Crane Incidents

7th March 2019

On Friday 22 February 2019, WorkSafe ACT was called to an industrial yard in Hume after being alerted that a mobile crane had tipped over. Inspectors were faced with a 300T mobile slewing crane that had tipped while undergoing maintenance/servicing and came to rest with the driver cabin approximately 10 metres in the air.

Preliminary investigations revealed that the tasks were being undertaken without the required counterweights resulting in the crane tipping once the boom section was extended where it exceeded the stability moment for the crane.

Click the link below to read the full safety alert. 

WorkSafe to target falling object dangers

21st February 2019

The risks of falling objects at building sites will be the focus of WorkSafe inspectors when they visit Victorian construction sites in the coming weeks. In January there were a number of serious incidents involving falling objects, including an incident in which a tower crane dropped a concrete slab weighing about 11.5 tonnes.

Common causes for falling objects include gaps between safety screens or holes in safety netting, missing kick or toe boards on scaffolding, and debris or materials coming loose from plant while being lifted. Unsecured items stored close to edges or exposed to high winds can also cause incidents involving falling objects.

Visit the link below to view the full safety alert. 

Precast Panel Falling From Structure

7th February 2019

On Wednesday 30 January 2019, WorkSafe ACT was called to a construction site in Braddon where a large precast concrete panel fell from the building and impacted a neighbouring property.

It is imperative that a rigid system and safe work method statements are prepared and strictly followed when undertaking high risk construction work. There are no circumstances under which the installation of concrete panels can occur without being sufficiently planned and documented in a safe work method statement. It is imperative that any safe work method statement is strictly followed and the planned process is not deviated from without appropriate planning and documented variations made to the safe work method statement.

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