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Date PostedNovember 21, 2012

Bridge Collapses Injuring Worker

Another safety incident has occurred on the construction site of a bridge. A worker suffered serious injuries after falling after the bridge collapsed.This incident demonstrates the need to guard against structural collapse in construction work.  In addition to bad weather, ensuring the structural integrity of walls and buildings is crucial. This is because of the damage to property a collapse can have as well as slowing down production in addition to injuring or even killing workers on site.

This highlights the incident on Abc.net.au:

The WorkCover Authority is investigating after a worker fell from a bridge on a section of the Hunter Expressway project.

Emergency crews were called to the Wallis Creek Bridge at Buchannan, near Kurri Kurri just after 4:00pm (AEDT), with initial reports a bridge had collapsed.

A 40-year-old man was flown to Newcastle’s John Hunter Hospital in a serious condition with chest and abdominal injuries.

WorkCover says it was notified of the fall and an inspector will be sent to the site today.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-11-13/workcover-investigates-expressway-accident/4368380

One of the ways principal contractors can manage the risk is by checking the stability of structures at each stage of the construction. They could also install lateral supports which can help the wall or building remain sturdy during construction.

Bridges in particular are susceptible to collapse due to their structure and the fact that they are exposed to vibrations with traffic etc. which can affect even the slightest vulnerable point to cause a structural collapse.

Before constructing buildings, bridges or any structures a strategic erection plan must be coordinated, one which incorporates the construction sequence, rate of building erection and support required for the wall or building. There may be a need for lateral or temporary supports which should be included in the structural drawings of the building.

Also where bridges or other structures are being erected, exclusion zones should be established to exclude unauthorised personnel from a potential collapse. Only workers who are authorised and necessary should operate within these exclusion zones. Passers-by should be protected from injury at all times.

Workers should be consulted when developing a safe work statement for the site and these documents should be available to workers to reference at all times.

Because the building of bridges and structural work is so dangerous, employers should ensure that a qualified and suitably experienced person is available to supervise the work and ensure it is being safely carried out.

It is important to engage a qualified and competent engineer to provide specifications to ensure that the structure is stable and construction workers should stick to this precisely, at the end of each day and at the beginning of every new phase of construction.

Workers should also watch weather reports so they can be aware of strong winds and provide extra support for the structure if necessary. Adverse weather conditions can be inconvenient and even dangerous for workers that is why they need to be prepared for it. Putting safety first is crucial to preventing injuries and deaths from structural collapse.

 

Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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