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WA: charges laid over serious injury from rubber hose whiplash

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of members. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Date: 
Friday, 25 June, 2021 - 12:15
Category: 
Incidents & prosecutions
Location: 
Western Australia

WorkSafe WA recently commenced prosecution action against a subcontractor over serious injuries sustained by a worker on the Forrestfield Airport Link Project in July 2018.

Salini Australia Pty Ltd has been charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment and, by that failure, causing serious harm to an employee.

On 7 July 2018, three Salini employees were engaged in connecting steel pipes in an underground tunnel near the Airport Central Station platform when there was a loud explosion.

A six-inch flexible rubber hose in the work area containing high pressure compressed air had detached from a steel pipe, resulting in unrestrained whiplash motion of the hose.

A member of the work crew was struck in the face by the whipping hose, causing him to be knocked unconscious and inflicting serious injuries including a traumatic brain injury, severe facial fractures and lacerations, a fractured right hand and an eye injury.

The injured worker initially underwent nine hours of surgery and was then placed in an induced coma for 11 days. He has since undergone extensive medical intervention including further facial surgeries, dental surgeries, plastic surgery, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

The first mention will be in the Perth Magistrates Court on 23 July.