Construction company fined after worker crushed to death

Monday, 11 October, 2021

Construction company fined after worker crushed to death

Civil construction company Multiworks Australia Pty Ltd has been fined $50,000 following the death of a worker who was crushed while guiding machinery onto a truck in Mildura. The company pleaded guilty to a charge of failing, as far as was reasonable practicable, to provide a safe workplace. A WorkSafe Victoria investigation found that the company had failed to prepare and implement a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for high-risk construction work that specifically addressed the loading and unloading of machinery.

The incident occurred on 24 October 2017, when a truck driver suffered fatal chest injuries as he stood on the upper deck of the truck. A drum roller was being reversed onto the truck’s lower deck, when it suddenly sped up and jumped onto the upper deck, crushing the worker. WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Andrew Keen said employers had a duty to prepare and use a SWMS for all high-risk construction work.

“Employers must take the time to identify risks in the workplace and take all reasonable steps to remove or reduce these risks. This includes providing clear and written procedures for all aspects of high-risk tasks and making sure that those procedures are followed,” Keen said.

To manage risks when loading or unloading powered mobile plant at a site, employers should prepare and implement an SWMS for high-risk construction work, in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives. The SWMS must include the type of plant to be loaded, the environmental conditions of the sites and fall protection for the delivery worker. Employers must also ensure that the SWMS excludes persons, including ‘spotters’, from the immediate vicinity and potential travel path of the plant.

The SWMS must address the suitability of the transport vehicle, including traction of the deck material, dimensions and load rating of the deck and ramps, tie down and lashing points, loading or unloading methods, and winching equipment onto and off tilt-trays (if relevant). Employers must also ensure that the SWMS considers the competencies and experience required to operate the transport vehicle and any equipment used to load the plant, including powered plant if it needs to be driven on/off the transporter. Employers are also encouraged to ensure powered mobile plant is regularly serviced and inspected.

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