|Offender||Chain Applications Pty Ltd t/as The Rigging Shed (ACN: 098 941 578)|
|Charge||Charge Number||Offence Date||Date Convicted||Regulation||Section||Penalty Provision||Penalty Imposed||Date Sentenced|
|1||PE18222/2022||6 May 2019||20th October 2022||23(1) 23AA(2)||3A(3)(b)(i)||$300,000.00||20th October 2022|
|Description of Breach(es)||
Being a person that designed and/or manufactured and/or supplied plant for use at a workplace, and failed so far as was practicable to ensure that adequate information in respect of the plant was provided when the plant was supplied and thereafter as requested contrary to section 23(1)(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984, and by that contravention caused death to a person to whom a duty is owed, contrary to section 23AA(2) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.
This prosecution summary is linked with L & M Radiator Pty Ltd.
The first offender, L & M Radiator Pty Ltd (L&M Radiator) is a company engaged in the manufacture, service and repair of large industrial radiators, sometimes referred to as Charge Air Coolers and operated from a workplace in Welshpool (WorkPlace) and was the employer of the victim.
The second offender, Chain Applications Pty Ltd (Chain Applications) was a company that specialised in the supply, maintenance and inspection of lifting equipment and height safety equipment including large industrial chains.
On 6 May 2019, the victim while at the Workplace, suffered fatal crush injuries when the lifting chains attached to a gantry crane failed, resulting in the load (Radiator -Charge Air Cooler) falling to the floor of the workshop, namely the Service Department Area Tunnel 1, and crushing him. The raised load was too close to the victim who was working in an area which should have been identified and maintained as a designated Exclusion Zone. The incident and the events were captured on CCTV.
On 24 November 2017 Chain Applications had supplied the L & M Radiator with the lifting chains that failed and led to the death of the victim. They had manufactured the lifting chains (RAD-0049) which were made of chain link that were supplied to them by another manufacturing company. The lifting chains that were supplied to L & M Radiator were not specific lifting chains for use in a corrosive chemical environment. They were standard lifting chains for general purpose lifting and ought not to have been exposed to a corrosive environment.
In early 2017 when L & M Radiator were first taken on as a customer, Chain Applications had sent an employee, to the workplace to take an inventory of their lifting equipment and check the lifting equipment certifications so that Chain Applications could accurately quote on pricing. This employee was accompanied by another employee for purchasing.
On 5 March 2019, approximately nine weeks prior to the incident, Chain Applications inspected and tested the subject chain. The two employees of Chain Applications determined that the Chain was in sufficient working order and it passed the test. A Certificate of Inspection was then issued. The inspection and testing of the chains took place in the carpark of L & M Radiator however the two technicians of Chain Applications did complete a walkthrough of the Workplace when the testing was completed.
Detail of incident
The relevant Charge Air Cooler (CAC) unit (766kgs) was suspended in a vertical position by lifting chains attached to the overhead Gantry crane. The base of the CAC unit was about waist height from the ground.
Two Service Department employees were using the crane to move the CAC to a cradle that was waiting on a forklift near a large doorway adjacent to the Wash Bay area. The victim was cleaning a radiator on the floor of the Wash Bay in Tunnel 1 and was working within the exclusion/fall zone of the CAC. The area the victim was within should have been an exclusion zone, namely at least 1.5 times the size of the load away from the lift being carried out and in the path of travel of the CAC.
The lifting chains attached to the CAC unit suffered failure (Caustic Stress Corrosion Cracking – CSCC) and snapped. The CAC unit fell to the ground and toppled onto the victim pinning him between the CAC unit and the radiator unit he was cleaning.
Use of Chains and cleaning and relevant standards
The chains at the Workplace were exposed to a heated caustic solution in a tank used for cleaning the CAC’s.
The workplace practice was for the lifting chains to be washed down with hot water from a high-pressure hose after they had been used in the caustic tank. However, there was no specific instruction about this, no documented work procedure or signage for this, and consequently it was not always done.
An expert witness metallurgist engaged by WorkSafe, stated that washing / rinsing the chains once they were removed from the caustic tank ‘merely serves to remove any residual chemicals from the chains… Rinsing of the chains after an overnight exposure would do little to negate the effects of being in the caustic solution in the conditions described’.
The applicable Australian Standards were AS2321 and AS3775.
AS3775.2 Clause 8.3 states that Grade T(80) chain slings & fittings should not be used or stored in acid, alkaline or other corrosive environments, due to the possibility of embrittlement and corrosion.
Chain Applications failed to provide this information to L & M Radiator and L & M Radiator failed to otherwise make themselves aware of this.
Similar warnings existed in relation to alkaline and acid including in the Lifting Guide by the manufacturer of the chain component parts for Chain Applications but Chain Applications failed to provide this information to its’ own staff and therefore its clients, including L & M Radiator.
Australian Standards AS3775.2:2014 Chain Slings for Lifting Purposes Care & Use, states in section 4 (Competent Person Requirements), section 5 (Storage & Handling) and section 8 (Use), the detrimental effects of excessive temperature and corrosive environments on lifting chains. The Australian Standards were readily available to both offenders.
Practicable Measures: Chain Applications
Chain Applications should have:
These failures led to the death of the victim who died as a result of the chain failure.
On 20 October 2022 the Magistrate issued an initial fine of $600,000 which was then reduced for guilty plea and other mitigation to a final fine of $300,000 and ordered $9,121.50 as agreed costs.
|Court||Magistrates Court of Western Australia - Perth|
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