Hit by prefabricated concrete panel 13 September 2018

A 10 tonne prefabricated concrete panel broke into pieces as it was being lifted, striking and injuring a 50 year old worker.

Incident date

13/09/2018

Event

Hit by falling object

Location

Seven Hills

Incident overview

A 10 tonne prefabricated concrete panel approximately 12m in length and 2.1m in width was being lifted off a truck using a crane and was to be rotated mid-air and moved into position as part of constructing a commercial premises. However, as it was being lifted it broke into pieces, striking and injuring a 50 year old worker assisting with the lift.

NSW Police and Ambulance responded to the incident and the worker was conveyed to hospital and received treatment for his injuries.

The pre-fabricated concrete panel which broke into pieces when being raised into place.
View of the pre-fabricated concrete panel which broke into pieces when being raised into place.

The site

The site is located at Seven Hills. The activity being undertaken at the time was the construction of a commercial premises using prefabricated concrete panels. The site is under the control of a principal contractor with several sub-contractors working onsite.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Tilt-up and pre-cast panels must be designed for both erection loads and for loadings experienced when they make up part of the completed building or structure (i.e. ‘in-service loads’). The loads applied to the panel during lifting off the casting bed, transport, handling, erection, and while the panels are temporarily braced are different from loads applied when part of the final structure. The erection designer(s) must therefore design the panel for all types of loading.  Erection crews must then ensure panels are lifted and braced in the manner specified by the erection designer(s).

Tilt-up panels should only be lifted when the concrete has cured long enough to attain the minimum required concrete strength specified by the lifting insert supplier. The minimum concrete strength for most proprietary brand lifting inserts is 25 MPa. Some inserts may require a higher strength than 25 MPa.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a fatality/serious injury/serious incident in the prefabricated concrete industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

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