Vic company fined $30K for unsafe lifting

Tuesday, 25 January, 2022

Vic company fined $30K for unsafe lifting

Heavy-duty manufacturer MaxiTRANS Australia Pty Ltd has been convicted and fined $25,000 after a trailer fell while being lifted, narrowly missing three workers. The company pleaded guilty to a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to maintain systems of work that are, as far as reasonably practicable, safe and without risk to health. The company was also ordered to pay costs of $5742.

On 20 June 2018, three workers were using two cranes to lift a partially constructed trailer at the company’s Wendouree premises. Workers usually did this by attaching chains to lifting lugs, which were fixed to the trailer using a magnetic drill. However, on this date, the magnetic drills were being repaired; as a result, the workers looped a chain and hook around rails at the front and rear of the trailer before lifting. As a worker was placing a support stand beneath the raised trailer it fell, hitting the stand, rolling to the right and narrowly missing all three workers.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer cautioned that employers would be prosecuted if they failed in their duty of care to maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. “This was a significant failure, which could easily have been catastrophic for the three workers involved. The risks associated with working with cranes are well-known and there is no excuse for failing to ensure that safe systems are in place to protect workers,” said Dr Beer.

When using cranes, WorkSafe Victoria urges employers to select the proper crane and lifting equipment for the task, size and weight of the load. Employers must also ensure that cranes are maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and requirements, and operated within their design parameters. WorkSafe also advises employers to check that crane operators and persons connecting loads have the skills, training and licences to operate safely.

Employers should create and adhere to safe systems of work and ensure all workers are properly trained before commencing the task. Environmental factors such as the weather, ground bearing capacity, and overhead and underground services such as powerlines and pipes/drains should also be considered, with non-essential personnel excluded from the area of operation. For construction, employers should also ensure that a safe work method statement (SWMS) is created and adhered to.

Image credit: © Captures

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