NT company facing charges after workers crushed
A.M. Cranes & Rigging Pty Ltd, a Darwin mobile crane hire company, has been charged with breaching Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act), after an incident in which two workers suffered crush injuries. If found guilty, the company faces a maximum penalty of $1.5 million for each charge.
In February 2019, A.M. Cranes & Rigging was hired to transport and position an electrical switchboard weighing approximately 1.8 tonnes into a newly constructed switchboard room at the Palmerston Police Station. A crane was used to lift the switchboard partially into the switchboard room, before it was placed into four load skates.
Three workers then attempted to manually manoeuvre the switchboard over a cable pit covered by checker plate; during this manoeuvre, the switchboard toppled backwards, pinning two of the workers. An A.M. Cranes & Rigging worker suffered moderate soft tissue injuries and was freed by other workers at the site. The second worker, who was employed by another company, suffered serious head injuries and required emergency services personnel to rescue him.
A NT WorkSafe investigation found that A.M. Cranes & Rigging did not have a safe system of work in place, despite the high risk of serious injury or death if the switchboard toppled. The company is facing two charges; one for breaching its duty under Section 19(1) of the Act, which resulted in the injury of one of its workers. The second charge is for breaching its duty under Section 19(2) of the Act, which resulted in the worker from another company being seriously injured.
NT WorkSafe alleges that the company should have known the dimensions and centre of gravity of the switchboard; placing the switchboard onto load skates to move it also increased the risk of it toppling. NT WorkSafe also alleges that the dimensions of the switchboard room in relation to the switchboard meant that workers manually manoeuvring the switchboard were always in its fall radius, and at serious risk of being crushed or pinned if the switchboard fell.
The matter will be addressed in the Darwin Local Court on Tuesday, 23 March 2021.
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