$400,000 fine after worker killed in crane tragedy

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Wednesday, 8 March, 2023 - 12:00
Incidents & prosecutions

A crane company has been convicted and fined $400,000 after one man died and two others were injured during a concrete pour at a Box Hill construction site.

Clark Cranes was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court after a jury found the company guilty of one charge of failing to ensure that the plant supplied was safe and without risks to health.

The Court heard that in September 2018, a crane was being used to lift a large bucket of wet concrete into a 3m x 3m pit.

Two workers were inside the pit to assist with the concrete pour when a section of the crane, known as the hoist rope termination assembly, failed. This caused the hoist ropes to break and the bucket to free fall.

One worker was crushed and killed by the load; another was seriously injured and trapped in concrete. A dogman standing outside the pit also received minor injuries from the incident.

A WorkSafe Victoria investigation found the company failed to ensure a split pin was safely inserted in the hoist rope termination bolt, causing the load to drop when a castellated nut on the hoist rope termination bolt became unscrewed.

It was reasonably practicable for Clark Cranes to have ensured a split pin’s presence by completing a thorough inspection of the crane prior to it being used, and either inserting a new pin if it was absent or replacing it if it was faulty.

WorkSafe Victoria executive director of health and safety Narelle Beer said this matter highlighted the importance of even the most basic safety measures.

“This tragedy should never have occurred, and WorkSafe will continue to prosecute employers who fail in their duty to provide safe equipment.”