“Sheer luck” workers unharmed after concrete panel safety breach

“Sheer luck” workers unharmed after concrete panel safety breach

A safety breach at a precast concrete manufacturer in Victoria has cost the company $30,000 in fines after it endangered workers by storing 3-tonne concrete panels on end, without supports.

Civicast faced  Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on three charges of failing to maintain a safe system of work and one charge of failing to prepare a SafeWork Method Statement for high-risk construction work.

The charges related to failing to correctly store concrete panels, failing to regularly inspect and test lifting equipment and failing to manufacture the panels with the required number of lifting lugs.

In November of 2017 a SafeWork inspector visited the company’s Altona North site to follow up a report that employees were working in area by large, free-standing concrete panels.

WorkSafe’s investigation found the panels were standing vertically, without support and had been manufactured with only two lifting lugs, rather than the four required in the manufacturer’s specifications.

The panels were also being lifted by make-shift methods, rather than using lifting lugs that were called for in the design.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said it was only sheer luck that the panels had not fallen on workers.

“The idea of allowing workers to go anywhere near huge concrete panels that have been left standing, on-end, without support is just abhorrent,” Nielsen said.

Civicast was also ordered to pay $4115 in costs.

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