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One death, two injuries and $400,000 in fines

In a recent WorkSafe Victoria prosecution, a crane company was fined $400,000 for an incident in which a crane hoist rope broke, resulting in a worker being killed and two others sustaining injuries.

This case – WorkSafe Victoria v Clark Cranes Pty Ltd – concerned crane company Clark Cranes Pty Ltd, which was engaged to provide a tower crane at a construction site. The crane was carrying a kibble loaded with wet cement when the hoist ropes broke, resulting in the kibble freefalling into a work area. A worker assisting with the concrete pour was killed, and another was trapped and seriously injured. A third worker sustained minor injuries.

Clark Cranes was charged with failing to ensure that equipment supplied was safe and without risks to health, and in the alternative, failing to ensure that equipment was not erected in a way that makes it use safe and without risks to health. Clark Cranes did not inspect, or have a procedure in place to inspect, the hoist rope assembly.

Clark Cranes pleaded not guilty to both charges, but was found guilty of the first charge and was fined $400,000 with conviction.

This decision is a reminder to have documented procedures for the inspection and checking of plant and equipment, and to ensure that such inspections and checks are in fact carried out. This extends to companies that supply plant and equipment.

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