Charges laid over serious crush injury incident

NT WorkSafe has charged a Darwin mobile crane hire company over a serious incident where two workers suffered crush injuries. A.M. Cranes & Rigging Pty Ltd is facing two charges under Section 32 of the Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011 (the Act), and if found guilty the company faces a maximum penalty of $1.5 million for each charge.

In February 2019, A.M. Cranes & Rigging was hired to transport and position an electrical switchboard weighing approximately 1.8 tonnes into a newly constructed switchboard room at the Palmerston Police Station.

A crane was used to lift the switchboard partially into the switchboard room, before it was placed onto four load skates. Three workers then attempted to manually manoeuvre the switchboard over a cable pit covered by checker plate. During the manoeuvre the switchboard toppled backwards pinning two of the workers.

An A.M. Cranes & Rigging worker suffered moderate soft tissue injuries and was freed by other workers at the site. The second worker, who was employed by another company, suffered serious head injuries and required emergency services personnel to rescue him.

The first charge A.M. Cranes & Rigging faces is for breaching their duty under Section 19(1) of the Act, which resulted in the injury of one of its workers. The second charge A.M. Cranes & Rigging faces is for breaching their duty under Section 19(2) of the Act, which resulted in the worker from another company being seriously injured.

NT WorkSafe’s investigation found A.M. Cranes & Rigging did not have a safe system of work in place despite the high risk of serious injury or death if the switchboard toppled.

NT WorkSafe alleges A.M. Cranes & Rigging should have reasonably known the dimensions and centre of gravity of the switchboard meant the likelihood of the switchboard toppling was very high, and placing the switchboard onto load skates to move it increased the risk of it toppling.

NT WorkSafe will also allege the dimensions of the switchboard room in relation to the switchboard meant, workers manually manoeuvring the switchboard were always in its fall radius and at serious risk of being crushed or pinned if the switchboard toppled.

The matter is listed for the Darwin Local Court on Tuesday 23 March 2021.

Source: Mirage News

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