Another construction company has been issued a fine following the death of one of its workers. Tragedy struck when the construction company was upgrading a section of the Hume Highway by erecting a bypass when the 39 year old truck driver was crushed between 2 vehicles. The incident which occurred in 2010 occurred when the driver was filling out paperwork.
The company was found guilty of failing to provide adequate safety procedures for refuelling on the site, of which it was the principal contractor. This incident should serve as a reminder to other construction contractors that every aspect of the site and work processes needs to be considered from a safety standpoint and the appropriate safe work procedures developed accordingly if liabilities such as this one are to be avoided.
The construction company was fined $350,000 following an investigation which found that the company had not sufficiently trained their workers to adhere to safety procedures.
The company was the principal contractor responsible for the erection of the $250 million Tarcutta Bypass on the Hume Highway.
Read further about the incident from a post on SafetyCulture.com.au:
An investigation conducted by WorkSafe found that the company did not ensure adequate safety when refuelling at the site.
Results of the investigation:
• There was no designated refuelling times or places
• Work was allowed to recommence before the refuelling operator had left the area
• There was no adequate system of communication between the loader driver and the refuelling operator
• The front-end loader operator was not trained to safely refuel vehicles.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
WorkCover General Manager of the Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson said serious injury or death could be avoided.
“[The company] had a safe work method statement for refuelling plant but they had not ensured their staff that operated mobile plant equipment had been trained in the procedure.
This incident, although tragic and sad is particularly interesting because it highlights the danger of not training workers adequately.
The company, although implementing safety procedures, failed to ensure all workers were informed and educated on these procedures which resulted in the death of the driver and a fine for the company.
Companies need to be aware of the need to not only conduct a hazard identification and risk assessment, but also ensure that once a safe work method statement and safe system of work have been developed workers are appropriately educated in order to ensure their safety. It is not good enough to just develop safety procedures, workers are the ones engaged in dangerous activities and so they are the ones that need to be trained on how to operate safely on site.
The general construction white card teaches workers in the construction industry about the hazards that they may have to face and how to deal with them, but site specific training also needs to be conducted in order to safely operate and avoid incidents such as this one from occurring in the future.