ACT: crane company fined $300,000 after construction worker killed

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.
Tuesday, 29 March, 2022 - 13:00
Incidents & prosecutions
Australian Capital Territory

A mobile crane company was recently fined $300,000 over a 2016 incident at the University of Canberra public hospital building site where a construction worker was killed when a mobile crane trying to move a ten-tonne generator toppled, fatally crushing him.

The company, RAR Cranes, was convicted of a category 2 offence under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and fined $300,000. Multiplex was sentenced on 12 November 2021 for the same incident.

Previous court documents showed the crane driver knew the generator’s weight would push the crane to its limit, so he and another worker fitted a counterweight.

However, the counterweight was fitted incorrectly, which meant that the crane’s computers were showing wrong information and the computer system was responding as if the crane was operating normally.

The crane was also not meant to traverse angles of more than five degrees but some areas on the path were significantly steeper.

The accident occurred late in the day and in fading light, and workers used car headlights to light the way as workers, including the deceased, walked alongside the load to steady it.

“Although it has taken six years to get to this point, I appreciate the work that has gone into this process,” said ACT Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius.

“The outcome today sends a strong message to duty holders – if you do the wrong thing, not only will you forever negatively impact a wide circle of people, but WorkSafe ACT will catch you, and you will be held to account.”