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Construction company fined over accident, leg of injured worker amputated

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Jun 18, 2013 2:40:16 AM
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thumb_depositphotos_27132265_mTransfield Services Engineering Group (TSEG), a global provider of construction services, was fined $100,000 and ordered to pay the WorkCover’s legal costs after a 45-year-old dogman suffered serious injuries resulting into amputation, at the Port Kembla export terminal. The court found TSEG guilty for not having a safety work process that could have prevented the said accident.

The incident happened last March 2009. A large steel producer hired TSEG to dismantle the new large cooling system that they had just tested at the Port Kembla operating plant. The job will start by removing the pieces in the system. Since the pieces are large, it must be carried out by a large crane. The pieces must be attached to the crane first, before the bolts anchoring the pieces to the ground are removed and transferred into another area in the plant.

On the 30th day of the same month, the workers of TSEG started removing the pieces of the cooling system. Each piece was made of a large fabricated steel frame that weighs around 1.7 tons. Each piece measures 2.3 metres high and 8.1 metres long. When all the pieces of the cooling system were removed, the workers proceeded next to attach all the pieces to the crane. However, the frame was already unbolted before even attaching the pieces to the crane, so it toppled onto a dogman causing a serious crush injury to his right leg. Immediately, he was rushed to the nearby hospital for emergency treatment. His right leg ,just below the knee, was badly hammered that it was amputated on that same time. Afterwards, he underwent extensive rehabilitation.

If there was an existing safety work process applied by the TSEG, that accident would not happen in the first place. WorkCover investigated the incident and found out that the TSEG violated the Occupational Health & Safety Act 2000. TSEG pleaded guilty to the charge and was fined $100,000.

Thomas & Coffey, another company that was involved in the same incident, was previously charged with two safety breaches in relation to the incident. Thomas & Coffey pleaded guilty and was fined $270,000 for putting in danger both the injured worker and its own employees.

John Watson, General Manager of WorkCover NSW Work Health and Safety Division, said that the safety of the workers must be the highest priority for all employers, especially for those working in the field of manufacturing or heavy machinery. Working with such heavy machinery or large products can be very dangerous which is why every safety precaution must be taken,” he said.

TSEG failed to follow the necessary steps in the risk assessment of the job before it was carried out. It was not totally made sure that the frame was attached to the crane before the bolts were removed, which caused a heavy steel frame to fall and a very serious injury.

After the incident, WorkCover vowed that they will work with the TSEG to ensure that the same mistake will no longer be repeated in the future.

Topics: Prosecutions, Blog