A construction company has been hit with a massive fine following the death of a worker. The marine construction company has been fined almost half a million dollars after a young father was killed on a Barangaroo worksite in 2017. The tragic chain of events which led to the young dad’s death were revealed in court.
Tim Macpherson, 32, was working as a rigger on the NSW Government’s Barangaroo Ferry terminal project in early 2017, when an unrestrained three tonne metal beam fell on top of him. On the afternoon of March 1, 2017, Macpherson was hooking up headstock so the crane operator could move them to the scrap.
“Due … to the wash from a passing ferry”, court documents state, the crane hook whipped and crisscrossed and hit the two-metre long beams, resting upright on the barge, and they came down, striking Macpherson.
Macpherson died instantly from his injuries, leaving behind his pregnant wife and son.
Last month, subcontractor Brady Marine & Civil Pty Ltd, for whom Macpherson provided casual labour, was fined $450,000 by SafeWork NSW for “failure to respond to a risk of injury”.
Brady Marine was contracted by McConnell Dowell Constructions – the main contractor for Transport for NSW on the Barangaroo project. Brady Marine had a duty to identify “risks in the workplace and an assessment of measures to address such risks,” according to court documents.
“The defendant (Brady Marine & Civil Pty Ltd) did not otherwise undertake an adequate risk assessment in relation to the storage of these headstocks, upright and unrestrained, on the barge,” Judge Wendy Strathdee said on sentencing.
“The risk of the headstock falling if a sufficient horizontal force was applied to them by the crane was not identified. The tragic death of Timothy Macpherson was a manifestation of that risk.”
Judge Strathdee emphasised that the incident was made more serious by the fact that simple steps could have reduced or eliminated the risk of injury.
But Judge Strathdee also said “the probability of the headstocks falling without the application of an external force was low and not necessarily easy to foresee” and that “there were errors or gaps in the risk analysis that the employees performed”, as Brady Marine argued in an affidavit to the court.
Managing director Paul Brady explained in the affidavit the steps Brady Marine had taken prior to the incident to ensure the safety of its workers and said the storage of these “unique headstocks” had been an “oversight”.
He said “the oversight was in Brady Marine’s primary reliance on its barge workers to independently conduct an adequate risk assessment … after the headstocks had been placed on the Barge”.
In June, Brady Marine & Civil Pty Ltd pleaded guilty in the District Court to failing to comply with health and safety standards.
McConnell Dowell, who “had overall responsibility of the site” as the principal contractor, “undertook weekly, rather than daily, inspections of the site”, the court judgment reads, and “did not act on (their) knowledge (or imputed knowledge)” that the beams were placed on the barge.
MacPherson, who had recently moved into a new house in Maitland with his young family, had seven years of experience in marine construction work.
The man operating the crane had 45 years of experience.
Source: The Daily Telegraph