White Card Update: Construction Company fined over accident which resulted in the amputation of a worker’s leg

A construction company, Transfield Services Engineering Group (TSEG) has been fined $100,000 and ordered to pay legal costs following an incident on one of their sites.

The 45 year old dogman was seriously injured which resulted in the amputation of his leg. The worker was engaged in work at the Port Kembla export terminal for TSEG at the time.

The company was prosecuted and found guilty for not having the appropriate safe work processes in place which had they been, would have prevented an accident such as this from happening.

Although the accident occurred in March 2009, the consequences for the worker involved are lifelong. He will never be able to do the same activities as he did before the accident, or make a living the same way. Other companies need to understand the importance of site safety, which is not about productivity or meeting legal standards but more about maintaining a safe and healthy workforce.

TSEG is a large steel producer who was tasked with dismantling a new large cooling system by first removing the pieces in the system using a crane. During the operations a large frame fell because it had not been securely attached to the crane. The worker’s leg was subsequently crushed and had to be amputated.

The court found that if the appropriate safe work process been established and applied by the company, TSEG – the accident could have been avoided.

This incident is not only sad but a serious eye opener because shortcomings on work sites are common especially where cranes are concerned.

A common source of crane incidents is improperly secured loads. Improperly secured loads are commonly the source of crushing on work sites. Building materials, construction equipment and building waste and debris are some of the items that can be dropped onto workers and the public below, many injuries and deaths have occurred in this manner.

Another vital aspect of crane safety involves ensuring that when loads are being lifted, exclusion zones are established to separate workers and the public from the area below, in case the load should fall, crushing people and property below as it did in this case.

It is also important that operators of cranes are aware of the danger zones on site. Danger zones are the areas where the operator or another person or worker may be hit by the load or the boom section of the crane. Workers on site should avoid entering the danger zones while operating the crane.  Operators are also responsible for monitoring the load stability and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions in operating the crane.

Most importantly all workers on site need to be trained and those engaging in high risk work need to be certified to do so.

The White Card training course can be completely online in a matter or hours or over a course of time (according to your preference) . There is no excuse not to ensure all your workers are trained and therefore equipped for the challenging work involved with construction work.