Perth Construction Accident – Concrete Falls and Crushes Cars

Source: Pixabay.com

A car was crushed recently and another was damaged after a concrete panel fell off the side of an East Perth building site. Thankfully nobody was injured or killed but the consequences could have been horrific.

The incident was blamed on human error by the managing director of Hanssen, Gerry Hanssen who blamed the builder responsible for the project, for the incident.

According to reports, the concrete slab plummeted 3 stories, flattening one vehicle completely while the other vehicle had a smashed windscreen and extensive denting.

According to Hanssen, the workers forgot to attach the panel to an overhead crane when attempting to adjust its position.He was quick to confirm that all the correct processes and procedures were in place and that human error was responsible for the incident.He said the company would replace the damaged cars.  Source: https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/perth/car-crushed-after-concrete-falls-from-east-perth-building-site-ng-b88840966z

Worker narrowly escapes Sydney Crane Incident

Last week Monday was a very unlucky day for one construction worker who was almost killed when a stack of concrete sheets fell 2 storeys and hit into him.

The construction worker narrowly escaped death when he was standing on a truck on a site in Sydney when a stack of concrete sheets hit him after falling from 2 storeys up. The concrete sheets were being hoisted by a crane when they dislodged and fell approximately 12 metres. According to witnesses on site the load was not properly restrained when it was being lifted.

The injured man was working as a dogman on the site whose responsibility it was to guide the crane operator as the load was being moved.

According to eye witness reports the crane swung into a metal loading platform which dislodged the concrete sheets, which are a quarter of the weight of regular concrete, and a lucky thing too because if it were regularly concrete the worker most likely would not have survived.

The worker is in a stable condition in hospital thanks to efforts by medical personnel at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and paramedics who worked to free the man from the rubble. The man suffered serious injuries including fractured vertebrae.

Smh.com.au was one of the first to report the accident, this excerpt was taken from a post on their site:

AM-W-WORK-20130805183351382123-620x349State secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, Brian Parker, was concerned rules demanding ”exclusion zones” beneath cranes were not being enforced. ”There’s going to be further accidents and deaths,” he said.

A spokeswoman for WorkCover NSW said it was investigating the incident, but the man’s job entitled him to stand within the exclusion zone. The man’s employer, Cosmo Cranes, declined to comment, citing an ongoing investigation.

The building site is planned to become a $280 million retail and residential complex called The Quay. Construction is being overseen by Parkview Constructions, which did not respond to requests for comment.

It is the second accident involving a crane in the area in the past year. In November last year, a crane at the University of Technology, Sydney campus on Broadway caught fire and collapsed.

The Ultimo Road site, which once housed the poultry section of Paddy’s markets, had been undeveloped for nearly 30 years before construction began last September.

It was known as one of Sydney’s black holes, or last remaining development opportunities, now being converted into 270 apartments.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/worker-cheats-death-in-city-crane-drama-20130805-2ra38.html#ixzz2bBE7vln6

It is believed that work on the site has been suspended until the union investigated the site’s safety issues. According to the CFMEU’s Brian Parker the pressure to turn commercial development around fast was leading to neglect of safety.

This incident should highlight the importance of ensuring crane loads are adequately secured and retrained before being lifted but also highlights the greater need for safety overall on site. Despite the need for commercial development and tight deadlines it is important that we in the construction industry recognise the importance of always putting safety first to avoid incidents like this.

 

Another Crane Incident being investigated by NT WorkSafe

Crane safety has made the news once again following a workplace accident at a shipping yard at Darwin Harbour.  A shipping container was dropped and hit the deck of the vessel it was being loaded onto. From the article below on SafetyCulture.com.au it appears that the incident was an example of operator error, read more about the incident:

NT-WorkSafe-logoThere has been a workplace accident that involved a crane this afternoon at a shipping yard located near the Duck Pond.

Whilst being loaded onto a ship in Darwin Harbour a shipping container reported to be carrying tonnes of steel fell and hit the deck of the vessel.

According to a report in the NT News, the operator of the crane attempted to load the 12.2 metre container into a small space but it hit an exposed hydraulic hose.

The hose was severed on impact and the crane as a consequence lost pressure.

Thomas Mayor, the Maritime Union NT organiser, said that this was the third time that this kind of accident had happened at the Darwin wharves in a two-year period.

He said that it was lucky that nobody was injured or killed when the container fell because there were people located in the danger zone at the time.

NT WorkSafe will be investigating the accident.

http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/container-falls-after-crane-fails/

Workers in the above incident were lucky to escape uninjured however next time they may not be so fortunate. Although this occurred in a ship yard instead of a construction site, building industry workers can learn a few very important lessons from the incident.

Firstly anyone operating a crane should be trained and certified in crane operation and dogging. Workers who cannot present the necessary certificates should not be allowed access to the crane because inexperienced and untrained operators often drop loads, hit the crane arm into overhead power lines, hit into other workers etc. Deaths and injuries from cranes almost always occur at the hands of another worker.  Crane operation is not as easy as it looks, it is a complex task and accidents can be fatal.

As the above incident demonstrates, operators carry great responsibility and need to be aware of the danger zones on site. Danger zones are the areas where the operator may be hit by the load or the boom section of the crane and 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.

Another important lesson to learn from this, is the need for exclusion zones to be set up wherever crane work is being undertaken to keep other workers on safe and out of harm’s way.

Goods should always be properly secured before lifted. Improperly secured loads are a common source of crushing because loads are large and heavy (on a construction site building materials, equipment and debris are some of the items lifted) so when they fall and hit workers below, they cause crushing injuries, some leading to death. While it is tempting to get the job done as quickly as possible, it only takes a split second for the load to slip and injure or kill a person below.

 

Alert Issued: Fire Risk of Mobile Cranes

The recent crane incident in Sydney has led WorkCover NSW to issue a safety alert to advise officers and workers about the risk of fires breaking out when tower cranes are used for the sites operations.

Watch the video below of the incident in Sydney that prompted WorkCover NSW to issue the alert:

Link http://youtu.be/WzDCOTKKxhc

As you can tell from the video, the results could have been devastating. Luckily no one was injured in the surrounding area and the crane operator also managed to make it out in one piece. Some good has come from the incident in that crane safety around Oz has come under the spotlight, forcing companies and operators to tighten their safety measures.

WorkCover NSW joined in the concern over crane safety in Sydney and has issued this safety alert to warn workers, operators and others of the potential dangers of working with cranes.

The investigation into the incident found that a number of factors have contributed to incident. The aim of the safety alert according to WorkCover is to provide advice on inspections and possible modifications to control the risks.

The information below provided by WorkCover on their website is for both diesel hydraulic cranes and electric tower cranes:

During a fire on the machine deck of a diesel/hydraulic powered luffing tower crane the luff rope failed, allowing the jib to collapse onto the worksite below. Fortunately there were no injuries as the worksite had been evacuated and the jib fell into the evacuated worksite, rather than into a populated area.

The incident appears to have resulted from the fire heating the luff rope and weakening it to the point where it could no longer support the jib and consequently failed. The fire could have been fuelled by the diesel fuel or the hydraulic fluid used to power the crane motions, however at this stage the ignition source has not been identified.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS

There are a number of potential contributing factors on the machine deck to the fire starting and then continuing for sufficient time to damage the rope.

  • Quantities of combustible liquid, diesel and hydraulic fluid, in tanks and being pumped in high pressure lines and hoses.
  • A diesel engine which provides a number of potential ignition sources.
  • An electrical system which provides a number of potential ignition sources.
  • A diesel engine and hydraulic pump and motors whose failure could result in a loss of significant quantities of combustible liquid.

Read more: http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/formspublications/publications/Pages/risks-associated-with-fire-on-cranes-safety-alert.aspx

WorkCover went on to suggest that employers responsible for crane use ensure risks to the health and safety of workers (as well as visitors to the site or surrounding it) is minimised as much as possible.

In addition to the safety measures regarding crane operations in particular, the alert also warned employers and principal contractors about the importance of a site evacuation plan and the need for effective communication systems in order to have safe evacuations.

Principal contractors should review their site evacuation plans and communication systems and revise them if necessary. Also the law requires principal contractors to test all emergency procedures to ensure they are efficient.

You can read all the safety measures proposed by WorkCover on their website www.workcover.nsw.gov.au