FATAL CRANE INCIDENT RESULTS IN $200K PENALTY

Timber truss manufacturer, Melbourne Truss Pty Ltd, has been fined $200,000 for unsafe practices that resulted in a worker's death at a construction site in Point Cook. The company admitted guilt in failing to ensure a safe workplace.

The incident occurred in March 2020 as workers were unloading prefabricated timber floor trusses using a vehicle-mounted loading crane.

While the crane operator stood on the delivery truck tray an assistant was located nearby on a concrete slab when a bundle of trusses touched the steel structure of the townhouse framework, causing it to shift inward and strike the assistant's face.

The worker fell backward, hitting his head on the concrete slab. He died on-site.

The court found that Melbourne Truss could have minimised this risk by implementing better safety measures, such as ensuring the safe positioning of personnel during unloading.

WorkSafe stressed the importance of safety in crane operations and provided guidelines for using vehicle loading cranes, including:

  • Selecting appropriate crane and lifting equipment for the task
  • Setting up designated lifting areas
  • Operating the crane from a secure location
  • Establishing exclusion zones for lifting, landing, and load travel areas
  • Ensuring crane operators are properly trained and possess the required HRW licence
  • Deploying a dogger when the crane operator lacks line of sight
  • Providing workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Implementing safe work systems, including a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)
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