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Prosecution Details

Offender Ronald William Roy

Charges

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Charge Charge Number Offence Date Date Convicted Regulation Section Penalty Provision Penalty Imposed Date Sentenced
1 Unknown at time of publication 1 December 2008 16th June 2011 20A(3)(c) $6,000.00 16th June 2011
Description of Breach(es)

Being an employee, failed to take reasonable care to avoid adversely affecting the safety of other persons, through his act or omission at work; contrary to section 20(1)(b) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984

Background Details

On 1 December 2008 four tilt-up concrete panels collapsed at a construction site situated at Lot 829 / 12 Newcastle Street in Perth.

The four panels fell into the lift shaft / stairwell area of the building under construction.  Four people had been working in the vicinity of the panels at the time, removing braces which were attached to the panels. Fortunately no-one was seriously injured.

At the time of the incident the site was under the control of Marago Nominees Pty Ltd as Trustee for Gavin Homes Unit Trust t/a Gavin Construction. Gavin Construction had been engaged to construct a 4-storey building on the site.

The Accused was employed by Gavin Construction as the Site Supervisor. 

The primary method of construction at the site was tilt-up panel construction. This involves the erection of large pre-cast concrete panels which form the structure of the building. The panels are supported by temporary braces or props until they are safely incorporated into the structure of the building and the structure is capable of supporting the loads applied to the panels.

The Accused instructed the labourers to remove the temporary props. The labourers removed six braces before the panels collapsed. The braces or props provide temporary support for the panels until they are safely incorporated into the rest of the structure and the structure is capable of supporting the loads applied to the panels. The labourers ran out of the way of the collapsing panels.

In 2004 Worksafe published a Code of Practice for Tilt-up Work which has since been adopted as a National Code of Practice. In respect of the removal of temporary bracing it provides that:

"Panel braces should not be removed until the concrete panel is incorporated into the structure and the structure is capable of supporting the panel for the applied loads.  Prior to the removal of braces, the structure should be inspected to ensure that all structural elements affecting stability are securely fixed to the panels.  This inspection should be carried out by the Project Design Engineer and written approval to remove the braces given to the builder.  The removal of braces from a panel should be planned and carried out in a controlled manner to prevent risk of injury and damage to equipment."

The Code of Practice reflects the requirements of AS 3850, section 7. The above practice was not followed at the site on this occasion.

There was a high risk of serious injury or death had any of the labourers been struck by a panel. The Accused should have sought engineering advice before instructing the labourers to remove the temporary braces.




Outcome Summary

The Accused was convicted in his absence on 7 June and sentenced on 16 June 2011.

Court Magistrate's Court of Western Australia - Perth
Costs $649.70

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