|Andrew Joseph Gorringe
|11 February 2016
|5th November 2018
|19(1) 19A(2) 55(1) 55(1)(b)
|12th February 2019
|Description of Breach(es)
Being a Director of Sunchaser Enterprises Pty Ltd (a body corporate) when Sunchaser Enterprises Pty Ltd was guilty of an offence under sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and that offence occurred with the consent of and/or was attributable to the neglect of the Accused contrary to sections 55(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
Workplace and Employment
The Accused, Andrew Joseph Gorringe (Gorringe), is a Director of Sunchaser Enterprises Pty Ltd (Sunchaser). Sunchaser is an Australian Company with company registration number 059 984 851. Sunchaser trades under the name of Complete Underground Power Installations (CUPI) and were in the business of supplying and installing underground services.
Another earth works company were the main contractor for the civil works at Mauravillo Estate located at Lots 2 and 3 Golf Links Road, Wundowie. The area where the offences occurred was commonly known as Golf Links Stage 2 (“the Workplace”). Sunchaser was engaged by the earth works company to do trenching works and to install and supply services including installing conduits and pits, laying of power cables, communication cables, water reticulation and associated works.
In order to install the services, a trench is excavated in the services alignment. Cracker dust (blue metal dust) and then clean sand is laid in the bottom of the trench and then a cable drum is picked up by an excavator and bought to the side of the trench in order for cable to be laid from it.
When the cable drum is brought to the trench it has a rope tied to the end of the cable which is wrapped around the full circumference of the drum and tied off, to prevent it from unwinding during transport. This needs to be cut before the cable is able to be laid in the trench.
On 11 February 2016 a worker (“the Victim”) was employed by Sunchaser as a labourer. He had only recently commenced employment with Sunchaser. Sunchaser had a number of other employees working on the Mauravillo Estate project along with the Victim including, Gorringe – Machine operator/supervisor on site, a Labourer/machine operator, labourers (Labourer 2 and 3).
On 11 February 2016 the above employees travelled to Mauravillo Estate and were continuing work on Stage 2 of the Estate to install services. On this particular day they were working adjacent to lots 59 and 60 of Shearing Rise at the Workplace.
At about 7am on 11 February 2016 the Victim and the 3 other labourers met on site at the Workplace at Mauravillo Estate, Wundowie. At approximately 7.30am Gorringe also arrived on site at the Workplace.
The employees were preparing to lay cable into a services trench that had already been dug and prepared for cable laying. The trench was approximately 1100mm deep. A full cable drum weighing approximately 1118kg was collected from the laydown area and bought back near to the location where the cable was to commence being laid. This cable drum was hooked up to a 20 tonne excavator and positioned adjacent to the services trench.
At approximately 9.30am an employee labourer/machine operator left the Workplace as he was feeling unwell.
The Director, Gorringe, was operating the 20 tonne excavator. The cable drum was suspended from the lifting point of the excavator, using a system of chains, shackles, a swivel and spreader bar, connected to a steel axle that was inserted through the centre of the cable drum.
The swivel used in the lifting system was not rated for lifting loads and should not have been used in a lift.
Gorringe lifted the cable drum and swung it over the services trench in order to commence laying the cable into the trench.
The Victim and Labourer 2 were in the services trench and Labourer 3 was outside the trench.
The Victim and Labourer 2’s role was to ensure that as the cable came off the drum into the services trench it remained within the Western Power alignment. They were to stand approximately 2.5-3m back from the cable drum in order to do this.
Labourer 3’s role outside of the trench was to keep the drum aligned with the trench by the use of a metal bar. No one is required to be under or immediately adjacent to the cable drum. Gorringe’s role was to operate the excavator to move the drum down the services trench.
Once the cable drum had been positioned in the trench but still suspended off the ground, it was observed that the rope that secures the cable to the drum to stop it unwinding had not been cut.
Gorringe became aware that the rope had not been cut and that the Victim was intending to cut the rope. He said to the Victim either “why hasn’t the rope been cut, cut the rope” or “get in there quick and out” whilst the drum was still suspended in the air over the trench.
The Victim went to lean under the cable drum to cut the rope when the swivel failed and the cable drum fell onto the Victim pinning him to the ground.
Labourer 2 screamed out as they realised the Victim had been trapped and Labourer 3 then connected the rigging straight to the ‘D’ Shackle so Gorringe could lift the cable drum off the Victim and out of the services trench.
An ambulance was called and the Victim was taken to Royal Perth Hospital.
The Victim received multiple serious injuries which include:
The Victim was an inpatient at Royal Perth Hospital from 11 February 2018 until 4 March 2016 (23 days) and then transferred to St John of God Mount Lawley until 16 April 2016. He required on going physiotherapy, hydrotherapy and crutches to walk on release from hospital with follow up orthopaedic specialist appointments. The severity of his fractures means he will not fully recover and now has permanent injuries. He has been unable to return to manual labour type work due to limitations resulting from his injuries.
The hazard (“hazard”) in the working environment was a cable drum being suspended in close proximity to a person. In addition the equipment used in the suspension was not suitable for lifting. These may result in serious injury or death if the cable drums drops.
A reasonable person in the position of the Accused should have foreseen the Hazard.
Gorringe suffered serious injuries as a result of a similar incident in 1998 when a cable drum fell on him whilst working for the same company. He knows the hazards of cable drums being suspended in proximity to a person.
Gorringe still walks with a limp due to the nerve damage sustained in the 1998 incident.
In addition a WorkSafe Improvement Notice number 101419 was issued to Sunchaser Enterprises Pty Ltd and signed for by Gorringe after the 1998 incident to develop, document and implement a procedure for a safe system of supporting the cable drum when laying underground cables so that persons are not exposed to the risk of injury.
Gorringe held numerous tickets including a High Risk Work Licence (HRWL) for Elevating Work Platforms with a boom length over 11 metres (WP class), an excavator ticket, loader ticket, and a western power cable laying card.
The swivel being used in the lifting system attached to the excavator was not rated for lifting. It did not have any working load limit stamp on it and it should not have been used for lifting. The type of swivel used on the day does not have a bearing and will not swivel easily under a load. Swivels of this type are also not designed for side loading, as this will create friction on the pin (nut and bolt) and will not allow any swivelling to happen, which would cause a stress point on the back end of the pin (nut and bolt).
It is reasonably foreseeable that suspending a heavy cable drum with a person nearby is hazardous and may result in serious injury or death to that person.
It is also reasonably foreseeable that if a lifting system contains components not suitable for lifting loads that these components may fail and result in the load being dropped which may result in serious injury or death to anyone nearby.
Consent and/or Neglect
The Accused neglected to ensure only persons who had undertaken the appropriate training and qualifications to do High Risk Work of dogging class (class DG) performed dogging work.
The Accused neglected to ensure a qualified dogman performed the task of setting up and checking the rigging system attached to the excavator on 11 February 2018 when the excavator was to lift a load.
The Accused neglected to ensure only appropriately rated swivels were used in any system when lifting a load.
The Accused neglected to identify each hazard and consider the means by which the risks may be reduced for each hazard associated with the laying of cables using an excavator on 11 February 2016. These risks included the need for a dogman as well as the use of appropriately rated lifting equipment.
The Accused neglected to ensure staff signed onto a written Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) for working with excavators at the Workplace which included a control of ensuring all personnel are clear of moving machines and suspended loads.
The Accused neglected to enforce an exclusion zone for people when a load is lifted or suspended by powered mobile plant in accordance with:
The Accused neglected to ensure he operated the excavator in such a way that it did not allow a load to be suspended over or near a person who was in the vicinity.
The Accused neglected to ensure he landed cable drum in a safe manner before a person approached the drum to cut the rope.
The Accused neglected to ensure every person performing work at the Workplace under his direction possessed a current Construction Induction Training Certificate.
The Accused consented to employees working at the Workplace without having been appropriately inducted including signing on to any SWMS, Safe Work Procedures or Job Safety Analyses that identified the risks of suspended loads near people and how to reduce this risk.
The Accused consented to suspending a load above or near the victim.
The Accused consented to the victim approaching a suspended load to cut the rope on the cable drum.
The Accused consented to operating an excavator and lifting a load weighing approximately 1118kg using a swivel that was not suitable for lifting as it had no rating (working load limit).
Subsequent to the incident
On 12 February 2016, after this incident, the swivel that failed was replaced by a rated lifting swivel with a safety chain attached in case of a failure. This cost $429.
The verbal procedure regarding the rope not being cut on the drum was changed so that the rope is either cut outside of the trench before the drum is lifted or if this is not picked up the drum is to be landed in the trench before any person approaches the drum to cut the rope.
All staff were also required to attend a site induction with the main contractor, the earth works company and sign onto a Job Safety Analysis and Safe Work Procedure with the earth works company.
Gorringe also obtained a HRWL to enable him to perform dogging duties. These licences can be obtained for approximately $850.
The Magistrate fined the Accused a starting point fine of $30,000 which was reduced for early plea to an end fine of $22,500.00. Costs of $2195.50 were ordered.
|Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Northam
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