Construction company fined over worker’s death

construction street
Photo: SafetyCulture Library

A construction company responsible for upgrading a section of the Hume Highway was fined $ 350,000 and ordered to pay costs after one of its workers died on the project.

The company was the principal contractor in charge of building the $ 250 million Tarcutta Bypass involving the construction of 6.5 kilometres of dual carriageway on the Hume Highway when the incident happened.

In July 2010, the 39-year-old truck driver was crushed between two vehicles while filling out paperwork after refuelling a front-end loader. He died at the scene.

An investigation conducted by WorkSafe found that the company did not ensure adequate safety when refuelling at the site.

Results of the investigation:

  • There was no designated refuelling times or places
  • Work was allowed to recommence before the refuelling operator had left the area
  • There was no adequate system of communication between the loader driver and the refuelling operator
  • The front-end loader operator was not trained to safely refuel vehicles.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

WorkCover General Manager of the Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson said serious injury or death could be avoided.

“[The company] had a safe work method statement for refuelling plant but they had not ensured their staff that operated mobile plant equipment had been trained in the procedure.

“Working on construction sites can be dangerous and that is why every precaution must be taken to protect workers.”

“This is a sad reminder of the need to maintain proper safety protocols.

“WorkCover will work with the company to ensure the same mistakes are not made in the future,” he said.

OHS News

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