Construction company and director fined after crane collapses at Prestons school

Media Release | 30/11/2015

Southern Cross Rigging & Constructions Pty Ltd and one of its project managers have been fined more than $55,000 following an incident where a crane rolled over during the construction of a hall at a Prestons Catholic school.

Southern Cross Rigging & Constructions Pty Ltd was found guilty in the District Court of breaching section 8(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000 for failing to develop and implement a procedure for the safe assembly of structural steel using a mobile crane and the project manager was found guilty of a breach of section 66(b) of the Act for giving false or misleading information to WorkCover NSW (now SafeWork NSW).

On 28 May 2010 a mobile crane rolled after being overloaded while constructing the steel framework of a multipurpose hall, its boom striking the steel framework of the hall and causing a partial collapse. 

The crane rolled due a stick being used to jam the override button on its Automatic Moment Limiter, which is designed to stop the crane if an unsafe load is detected.

As the crane rolled, a rigger located in an elevated lift scissor received shoulder injuries after he jumped to avoid the falling crane’s boom and load.

Southern Cross Rigging & Constructions Pty Ltd was fined $51,000 and its project manager fined $5,400 for their roles in the incident. The project manager was found guilty of giving false or misleading evidence to WorkCover inspectors in an interview following the incident when he provided evidence that he had arranged for security to prevent access to the crane after the incident when he had in fact told security to allow an employee access to the crane.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW, Peter Dunphy said the incident was another example of the importance of safe work systems to prevent injuries and incidents.  

“Cranes are high risk pieces of equipment with significant potential for injury,” Mr Dunphy said.

“Southern Cross Rigging & Constructions Pty failed to develop adequate safe work procedures.

“This decision sends a strong message about the importance of fostering a good safety culture at the workplace."

Since the incident, Southern Cross Rigging & Constructions Pty Ltd has revised and changed its safe work method statements so that steel fixing crews are required to use the load chart to determine the safe lifting position of a crane and its capacity, and made changes to the way steel formwork is marked and identified when it is delivered on site.

“While these actions are to be commended, had they been in place as they should have been, the incident would have been prevented,” Mr Dunphy said.

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