A 3.5 kilogram steel plate from the Southern Star Observation Wheel at Melbourne’s Docklands fell 25 metres to the ground on Thursday, landing in a public area and narrowly missing Construction Workers.
The 13mm thick plate fell from the wheel because its fixing bolts had been removed in recent weeks. The plate was held in place only by paint.
When the wheel was turned as part of its decommissioning process, the paint seal broke and the plate fell to the ground.
It struck the tyre of an excavator that was on the ground.
WorkSafe Victoria, which is investigating the incident, ordered the safety barriers around the tourist attraction to be moved further out and an inspection of all similar plates to ensure they were securely bolted on.
The incident is the latest in a series of problems that have plagued the $120 million giant observation wheel.
The wheel is currently undergoing $20 million worth of warranty work after it was closed in January when extreme heat exacerbated structural flaws. It had only been open to the public for a few weeks.
Cracks up to 60 centimetres were discovered in several nodes that join the wheel’s spokes to the hub.
Earlier, during the construction phase, a two-metre strip of aluminium fell 70 metres, and WorkSafe warned of several safety concerns including loose bolts and poor staff training. Two cabins were severely damaged during testing last November.