Western Sydney engineering company fined over worker’s death

Media Release | 23/09/2015

A western Sydney engineering and manufacturing company has been fined $225,000 following an incident in 2012 where a worker died when a crane fell on top of him.

The 48 year old fitter and machinist was performing maintenance work on a crane when it fell over, pinning him between the crane and the arm of another crane. 

The incident occurred at Baker & Provan Pty Ltd’s St Marys site where they supplied, maintained and serviced cranes used by the Royal Australian Navy. At the time of the incident, the worker was realigning a slip ring which had been incorrectly installed on the crane.

SafeWork NSW charged Baker & Provan Pty Ltd under s19 (1)/32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 with failing to ensure the crane was on a secure base while work was being carried out on the crane, failing to ensure at least one locking pin was in place when work was being carried out on the crane, and failing to provide a job safety analysis or safe work method statement identifying the risks associated with the work.

On 4 September 2015, Baker & Provan Pty Ltd was convicted of the charge in the District Court and fined $225,000 plus ordered to pay SafeWork NSW’s costs.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said the risk of the crane falling over and striking a worker was foreseeable and Baker & Provan could have managed it with a few simple measures.

“At the time of the incident, the slew drive of the crane was not installed, there were no locking pins in place and the crane was not fixed to its test base, instead it was fixed to a timber base used to transport it,” Mr Dunphy said.

“The risk of the crane tipping over while on the timber base was significant and if a few simple safety measures were taken, the risk could have been addressed.

“These include inserting at least one locking pin to prevent the crane from slewing, conducting a risk analysis while the crane was on the timber base and warning workers of the risk, and using the test base to perform the work.”

Following the incident, Baker & Provan implemented a number of safety measures, including a system of work where cranes are secured to the test base, introducing lockable pins, implementing a lock out system to keep locking pins in place to prevent cranes from slewing, and introducing job safety analysis forms and safe work method statements for the overhaul, storage and movement of cranes at the premises.

Mr Dunphy said had these systems been in place, the incident could have been avoided.

“This incident shows that an effective safety system does not have to be expensive or complicated, and in this instance, could have prevented this tragedy,” Mr Dunphy said.

“This decision sends a strong message about the need to have effective safe work systems in place to control work health and safety risks.”

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