Failing To Provide A Safe Workplace Results In An Unnecessary Loss of Life
SJ & TA Structural Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the Wodonga County Court in December 2019 to one charge of failing to provide a safe workplace.
The court heard that in August 2016 the company used scrap wood to separate stacked, 10-metre long steel staircases that weighed between 3.2 and 3.6 tonnes. The 33-year-old victim was detaching crane hooks between staircases when the timber separating them broke, causing the metal structures to slide sideways and collapse on top of him. The court heard that to ensure the safety of its employees it had been reasonably practicable for SJ & TA Structural to use wooden sleepers, rather than scrap wood, or to not stack the staircases at all.
WorkSafe said there was no excuse for failing to provide a safe workplace for workers.
“This tragic incident could have been prevented had a safe system of work been used to prevent the staircases toppling,” Ms Nielsen said.
“Using poor quality scrap wood to separate steel items weighing as much as 3.6 tonnes is simply unacceptable.
“WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who expose their workers the risk of death or serious injury by not taking workplace health and safety issues seriously.”
When storing structural steel employers should ensure:
- The work is planned, including the development of a safe system of work. This way structural steel can be safely unloaded and supported.
- The steel is placed on firm, level ground.
- The erection sequence is taken into account to prevent double handling.
- Appropriate packing and supports, provided and installed by a suitably competent person, are used to prevent items tipping, falling, or collapsing.
- Where possible, direct support from the ground is used to support large, steel structures. Using cantilevers or excessive lengths of packing is not recommended.
- Work is monitored and supervised by a competent person who is experienced in moving awkward loads.
- Workers not directly involved with the work are prevented from accessing the area. Do this by using an exclusion zone or perimeter fencing.
Getting your White Card from COVE Training is the first step in providing a safe workplace for your employees. We run courses in Seaford, Dandenong, Derrimut and Thomastown. Call us today on (03) 8773 9000 or visit our course calendar for dates, times and locations.
(RTO) No. 21386