Cranes, Hoists and Slings : Workers Injured at Curtis Island

cranes, hoists, and slingsTwo workers suffered injuries at Curtis Island with one of them being airlifted to the hospital. This incident has resulted in the CFMEU questioning the safety measures being used at the site.

Bechtel, the company involved, is conducting an internal investigation into the cause of the accident.  The accident took place on a compressor deck at the QCLNG site when workers were moving a crane rail along a steel beam.

“During the process, a section of the crane rail slipped from the beam and dropped onto a team member’s foot. A second team member was also grazed by the rail,” Bechtel Gladstone general manager Kevin Berg said.

An emergency response team was alerted, and treated the men as best they could, but a rescue helicopter was needed to take one of the workers to Rockhampton Hospital,

“As a precaution, the employee with the foot injury was evacuated by helicopter to Rockhampton Hospital where it was determined he received fractures to bones in his foot,” Berg said.

Workplace Health and Safety were alerted of the incident; as were other employees.

CFMEU representative Ben Loakes said “I think there is the potential to lead into something more serious than what we have today,” he said.

“(Bechtel has) a lot of their American safety officers that wouldn’t know their Australian legislation.”

Berg called the claim “ridiculous”  and that safety was a high priority at the site.

“Safety assurance is proactively managed by supervisors, superintendents, area superintendents – who are predominantly Australians,” he said.

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Crane Failure Results in Crash

A shipping container packed with a significant amount of steel smashed into the deck during the loading process.  A crane operator allegedly attempted to squeeze the 12m (plus) container into a small space on Sea Lion at Toll Perkins ship yard.

Reports stated that an exposed hydraulic hose was struck and severed, causing pressure to the crane to drop.

Maritime Union NT organiser Thomas Mayor  recalled that it was the third incident of its kind on Darwin wharves over the last 2 years .

“That’s three times too many,” he said, “There were people in the danger zone when the container dropped – it’s lucky no one was killed or maimed.”

The foreign-flagged ship is contracted to run between Darwin and Gove.

“HA worksafe! the toothless dog, all bark no bite! the unions have no power they have proven that time and again they just rub shiny patches with their useless arses into their leather office chairs! one thing is for sure is that these big companies dont care their OHS might as well be written on the dunny roll in the public toilets, thats all their good for! ”

Mr Mayor, who said the route traditionally belonged to an Australian ship and crew, raised fears Sea Lion did not meet NT regulations.

“A lot of ships register in other countries to avoid tax and basic regulations,” he said. “We hope to see an Aussie ship back on the run soon.”

NT Work Safe will investigate the accident.

Toll Perkins Darwin spokesman Christopher Whitefield did not respond to questions by the time of publishing.

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Crane Safety Top Priority After Collapse

WorkCover NSW swiftly moved ahead a  safety inspection program of tower cranes throughout the state following last year’s crane fire and collapse at a Sydney construction site.

The inspections which were poised to begin later in 2013, have since been pushed ahead, WorkCover NSW said in a statement.

The rescheduling comes after a crane at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) site at Broadway became engulfed inflames, before the cables gave way causing the whole thing to collapse

Fortunately there was no one hurt in the incident and  the crane crew was praised for saving the lives of building workers and the public.

Responding to the incident, WorkCover NSW  stated tower crane verification inspection program will start with the type involved in the Sydney collapse.

The inspections will examine existing risk controls such as crane pre-assembly and pre-use inspection systems.

A physical inspection of the cranes will also occur.

‘The Sydney CBD crane collapse had never happened before and at the time of the incident was considered extremely unlikely,’ WorkCover General Manager John Watson said in a statement.

‘WorkCover’s thorough investigation into the causes, systems of work, maintenance of equipment and adequacy of control measures is continuing.’

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WorkCover Hosts Crane Safety Discussions

WorkCover New South Wales – Australia hosted a tower crane safety roundtable on Tuesday, following the fire and jib collapse last week. It has followed up with a communique covering the meeting which pretty much speaks for itself, so here it is in full:

“The Tower Crane Safety Roundtable was held 4 December 2012. The Roundtable was convened by WorkCover NSW and attended by representatives of the building industry, unions, crane suppliers and the Industry Plant Consultative Committee.

The Roundtable considered a range of tower crane safety issues following the fire that seriously damaged a crane causing significant damage to part of the construction site located at the University of Technology, Sydney Broadway on Tuesday 27 November 2012.

Roundtable representatives were provided with updates by WorkCover officials, industry and unions in relation to tower crane safety initiatives.

These tower crane initiatives included:

  • WorkCover’s Pant Verification Program 2009 -2011.
  • WorkCover’s High Consequence Low Frequency Program 2012.
  • Crane Industry Council of Australia CraneSafe program.
  • The NSW Industry Plant Consultative Committee.

WorkCover officials provided a preliminary briefing in relation to possible root causes and preliminary actions in relation to reviewing and monitoring risk controls. While the actual cause of the incident is not yet known, a number of potential causes have been identified. The Roundtable agreed that all persons in control of tower cranes should address the following key risk controls:

Fire prevention measures

  • Check fuel lines and hydraulic hoses are located away from ignition sources or guarded to prevent leaking fluid from contacting potential ignition sources.
  • Do not store unnecessary quantities of combustibles on the machine deck.
  • Enhance inspection and maintenance programs to prevent or minimise fluid leaks, including preventative maintenance to replace hoses before they fail.
  • When replacing hoses ensure that they meet crane manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Ensure hydraulic systems are operating as designed and any malfunctions, including leaks, are repaired prior to the crane resuming service.

Fire control measures
• Ensure fire extinguishing equipment and fire detection and control systems are correctly maintained and serviced.
• Ensure operators understand the use of fire extinguishing equipment provided.

Evacuation procedures and systems
• Review site evacuation procedures to include consideration of structural collapse including tower cranes.
• Ensure emergency plans and communication systems are adequate and well maintained.

The Roundtable was also reminded of the need to be vigilant about general site safety including falls from heights.

The Roundtable noted that WorkCover is to release a tower crane safety alert to industry which will include the preliminary actions discussed at the Roundtable.

The Roundtable agreed for the Industry Plant Consultative Committee to review existing risk control advice and industry practice, including independent crane pre-erection and pre-use inspection systems, to ensure that they address the risks identified in this most recent incident.

Roundtable attendees were advised that the WorkCover investigation into the fire will take some time to complete, however as further more detailed risk information comes to hand this information will be disseminated to industry in a form which will assist industry in progressing prevention actions.

The chair thanked all attendees for their willingness to work constructively to identify key issues and apply lessons learnt from this unusual but high consequence incident. The outcomes of the Roundtable are designed to secure the safety and security of workers and the public in relation to use of tower cranes at construction sites.”

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Tests Commenced on Crane Following Dangerous Collapse

Engineers will today start testing parts of a crane that collapsed in Sydney last week, as WorkCover tries to find out what went wrong.

The collapse happened at a building site at the University of Technology (UTS) in the inner-city.

Authorities could not believe that no one was hurt or killed when a crane at the Lend Lease construction site caught fire, 45 metres above the ground.

The driver managed to steer it away from Broadway so that it did not hit the busy street when it came crashing down.

Instead it fell on a building site.

Over the weekend, Lend Lease undertook the massive task of removing most of the crane from the site.

John Watson, a general manager at WorkCover says the parts will be sent to Londonderry in Sydney’s west for testing.

“We’ve seized part of the crane – the main engine and hydraulic systems of the crane,” he said.

“They’ve been transferred to Test Safe Australia.”

Mr Watson says it is only the third collapse involving this kind of crane in the world.

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Inadequate Amount Of Training Results in Crane Death

crane safety trainingACT Coroner’s Court has observed the graphic video of a Canberra truck driver who died when he was trampled by a crane. Geoffrey William Blackfella Gowan died on his birthday a few years ago while picking up large waste bins at Evatt shops. The footage showed Gowan receiving serious neck and chest injuries when the arm of the crane jammed him against the truck with his feet elevated off the ground.

A police witness also showed footage to the court of a re-creation that reveals poor visibility and lighting in the area during the accident. The court maintained that the poor lighting coupled with Gowan’s inexperience and inadequate training contributed to his death.

The Court was informed by work colleagues that Gowan had limited experience with a crane as well as low level of training and competence with the equipment used. The investigation is ongoing.

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