Regulators warn concreters about concrete safety pours

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.
Monday, 23 January, 2023 - 12:30
Industry news
New South Wales

SafeWork NSW recently issued a reminder to concreters that they should incorporate regular inspections, maintenance and testing of equipment into their routines following a spate of recent concrete placing equipment incidents.

Concrete pours are hazardous operations and concrete placing equipment including concrete pumps must always be serviced and functioning properly before any work starts, said the acting head of SafeWork NSW, John Tansey.

“Between 2017 and 2020 SafeWork NSW Inspectors attended close to 60 incidents, including one fatality and a further 17 involving serious injuries, many of which were caused by malfunctioning concrete placement equipment,” Tansey said.

“Recently there have been multiple occurrences of workers being injured by concrete line hose which has either blocked or burst and expelled concrete at significant force, as well as equipment impacting with powerlines, scaffolding and other infrastructure.”

During a recent pour at a site in Wagga, a concrete pump connection point burst after a blockage and a member of the public’s car was sprayed with concrete as they drove past the site.

At Greystanes, a boom pump extension arm hit overhead powerlines and caused an arc explosion and current which travelled along a boundary fence and blew a neighbouring property’s watermain.

“It is very lucky nobody was seriously injured during these events and a timely reminder that working with concrete can be dangerous,” said Tansey.

“Before work commences it is essential workers verify if the terrain is suitable for concrete placing equipment operations and note hazards such as overhead powerlines and recent trenching.

“Always ensure you have safe work systems in place and that anyone performing high-risk work is adequately licensed, trained, and supervised when doing so.”