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Building company receives $47,000 fine for tilt-up panel fall

Perth-based construction company Hanssen has been fined $47,500 plus costs over an accident where a 3.9 tonne concrete tilt-up panel fell from a building into a car park.

The incident occurred in May 2018 at a 34-storey apartment complex. A labour hire worker was working as an unlicensed surveyor alongside another labour hire worker, an apprentice boiler maker.

On the building’s first floor, tilt-up panels were being supported by temporary props bolted into each panel and the concrete floor.

As one of the panels was out of line, the surveyor decided to use a crane to take the weight of the panel and unbolt it. When the apprentice unbolted the temporary props, the panel fell and crushed two parked cars. Luckily there were no injuries.

WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said this case is yet another reminder of the need for strict requirements in the tilt-up construction industry.

“It’s crucial that anybody working in the tilt-up industry undergoes the appropriate training,” Mr Kavanagh said.

“Tilt-up construction is identified as high risk work for a good reason, and in this case, it was extremely fortunate that no-one was in the vicinity of the falling concrete panel that day.

“WorkSafe has specific regulations for tilt-up construction, and building companies need to ensure they are complying with the requirements of the legislation.

“Since 2008, there has been a National Code of Practice for Precast, Tilt-up and Concrete Elements in Building Construction that needs to be followed in every workplace where tilt-up construction is taking place.

“Hanssen had previously been convicted of two breaches of the same regulation in 2009 and fined $20,000 per breach for failing to ensure that the appropriate training had been completed.

“The company was also issued an improvement notice in May 2011, once again requiring it to train workers in tilt-up supervision.

“Clearly, the company has not got the message over the 10 years since its first conviction under this section of the legislation.

“Tilt-up construction can be a hazardous activity, and it’s vital that both workers and members of the public are protected from any potential incidents involving falling concrete panels.”

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