Crane operating business and worker fined after another worker received electric shock

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Photo: SafetyCulture Library

A crane business and one of its employees have been ordered to pay a total of  $9,877 over a 2013 incident where a worker received an electric shock.

The company pleaded guilty to directing a worker to complete high-risk work when they were not licensed to do so and was fined $5,000 plus costs of $688.50.

The worker also pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety of others, and carrying out high-risk work without the required High-Risk Work Licence. He was fined $3,500 and ordered to pay costs of $688.50.

The incident happened in September 2013 when the company had been contracted to lift steel lintels to the window and door frames at a construction site for a new residential area in White Gum Valley.

The worker together with a dogman conducted a visual site assessment and saw the overhead high voltage power lines at the front of the site.

The crane’s boom commenced rising upward until the end of the boom came in line with overhead power lines. The dogman who had been holding onto the crane’s hook, started to let go, however, the crane made contact with the power line and an arc flashover occurred. He received an electric shock and suffered burn to his right hand and feet.

The worker prosecuted had been granted a Certificate of Competency for slewing mobile cranes up to 20 tonnes in 2003 but this certificate has already expired in 2012. He did not submit an application to WorkSafe to convert his Certificate to a High-Risk Work Licence and, for this reason, was unlicensed during the time of the incident.

“This case illustrates that it is not just the employer’s responsibility to keep the workplace safe. Employees and contractors also have a responsibility to take reasonable care to ensure the safety and health of others in the workplace,” said WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch.

“Both the employer and the employee are responsible for ensuring the relevant licences are current before undertaking high-risk work.

“Fortunately, no one was fatally injured in the incident, however, it could have been a different story. It is crucial that crane drivers are aware of the position of overhead power lines and maintain the relevant exclusion zones.”

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