A contractor in Perth was fined $160,000 over the deaths of two labourers caused by falling concrete tilt-up panels at a construction site.
On 25 November 2015, four workers from the site work entered an area for smoking breaks. The area had not been set up as an exclusion zone to prevent entry, even though it was adjacent to the trailer and the panel lifting had already begun.
Six panels on the trailer had not been individually restrained. Each panel weighed in excess of three tonnes. As the third panel was lifted by a crane, the remaining unsecured panels on the trailer slipped and crashed onto the area where the workers were sitting.
Two workers died. The other two were unharmed.
The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of workers, and that failure causing the death of two workers.
The fine totalled $160,000 plus $2200 costs in the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday. The two other parties have pleaded not guilty and the cases will be heard separately.
“There are laws in place, a long-standing code of practice and Australian Standards to ensure pre-cast panels are dealt with in proper and safe manner,” said WorkSafe Commissioner Ian Munns.
He said the company did not have proper systems in place to restrain every panel until the crane safely took the weight. The company had the correct ratchets and straps available but these weren’t used due to the lack of safe systems and procedures.
“These failures resulted in the tragic deaths of two young men and so I remind the tilt-up panel construction industry that safety laws and proper procedures must be strictly adhered to, to avoid the loss of lives, serious injuries and other catastrophes.”