A St Marys engineering company has been fined $150,000 after a boilermaker lost part of his foot when a steel beam weighing more than half a tonne fell on him.

On 14 September 2013, the 30 year old boilermaker was moving and unpacking steel beams at the Allmen Engineering Projects plant at St Marys when three beams fell from their frame with one beam which weighed more than half a tonne landed on the boilermaker’s foot, resulting in four toes and part of his foot being amputated.

SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW) prosecuted the boilermaker’s employer, Allmen Engineering Projects for a breach of sections 19(1) and 32 of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 for failing to take steps to minimise risks associated with unloading and unpacking steel beams.

Executive Director of SafeWork NSW (formerly WorkCover NSW), Peter Dunphy said Allmen Engineering should have foreseen the risks and that there were simple and straight forward measures that could have prevented the incident.

“An effective safety system does not have to be expensive or complicated,” Mr Dunphy said.

“In this instance, all that was required was the development of a safe work system for unloading steel beams, the use of ‘u frames’ when unloading the beams to prevent them from slipping and ensuring a qualified dogman was available to direct the crane operator.

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

Since the incident, Allmen Engineering has implemented a number of safety measures to manage the risks associated with unloading and unpacking steel beams.

These include hiring a licensed dogman while staff underwent dogman training, developing a safe work system for the task, enforcing the use of ‘u frames’ when unloading steel beams, and hiring work health and safety consultants to conduct a comprehensive review and upgrade of all work health and safety policies and procedures.

“While these actions are to be commended, had they been in place prior to the incident, the worker’s injuries could have been prevented,” Mr Dunphy said.

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