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Crane company fined $18,000 after worker injured by tyre shrapnel

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.
Date: 
Thursday, 5 May, 2022 - 12:45
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
National News

A crane company was recently fined $18,000 over an incident in which a worker was injured by shrapnel from the exploding tyre of a crane that made contact with overhead powerlines.

On 21 November 2018, D Caelli Cranes Pty Ltd was engaged by Austral Bricks to undertake two tasks at an Austral facility.

The first task was to move some kiln exhaust fans from outside to inside a newly built shed, and the second was to move a number of weighbridge deck sections from one area to another location approximately 500 metres further along the driveway.

The workplace had high voltage overhead power lines (22,000 volts) which ran across, and at an approximately right angle to the driveway.

After the kiln exhaust fans had been relocated, two of the D Caelli Cranes’ employees engaged in moving the weighbridge sections as instructed by the offender.

Once the task had been completed, the first employee drove the mobile crane towards a wash bay, with the second employee walking nearby.

As the crane approached the overhead power lines, the partially extended boom made contact with the power lines. While the second employee approached employee one to check on his condition, the front right tyre of the crane exploded and sprayed employee two with shrapnel. He sustained injuries to his leg, torso and face.

The investigation revealed the task engaged by the offender of moving the weighbridge sections by crane while being in close proximity to electrical assets was deemed by the inspectors to be High-Risk Construction Work.

Additionally, it was revealed that there was an SWMS generated for the task, but that it had not been reviewed or revised prior to the work being carried out. The SWMS did not address the risk the overhead power lines imposed during the task.

D Caelli Cranes failed to ensure high-risk construction work was not performed unless a safe work method statement was reviewed and revised before the work commenced.

D Caelli Cranes pleaded guilty to a single charge and was sentenced without conviction to pay a fine of $18,000 and pay costs of $11,232.