Global Construction Company Fined $100,000 after a Worker was Injured at Work Resulting to Amputation
Last March 2009, Transfield Services Engineering Group (TSEG), a leading provider of construction services globally, was fined a dramatic $100,000 after a 45 year old worker was seriously injured at work at the Port Kembla export terminal, resulting in amputation of his leg. The court condemned the construction company to be guilty of not implementing safe procedural methods that could prevent the accident. Furthermore, TSEG has also been ordered to pay for legal costs to WorkCover for court proceedings involved in the case of the accident.
The construction company was hired by a leading steel producer to uninstall a cooling system that had been tested at the Port Kembla operating plant of the latter. Typically, the process included removing the parts of the system at priority to dismantle it. However, the parts being huge, has to be carried out of the port via a crane. The procedure involved attaching the parts to the crane first and then removing the bolts that anchor the parts to the ground. The parts were then transferred into another segment of the plant.
The workers at TSEG started with removing the parts of the massive cooling system, each of which were made of huge fabricated steel frames that weighed almost 1.7 tons, with 2.3 meters height and 8.1 meters length. Followed by removing the parts of the cooling system, TSEG workers proceeded to the next level of attaching the parts to the crane. Unfortunately, as one of the frames was already unbolted even prior to attaching the parts to the crane, it fell on a Dogman, causing serious injury to his right leg. However, he was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital for emergency treatment.
The right leg of the worker was so badly crashed below the knee that it was amputated on an emergency basis, followed by which he went through extensive rehabilitation for months. WorkCover, after thoroughly scrutinizing the details of the project and procedures, identified that it was due to lack of safety work processes that causes the accident. On further investigation, it was revealed that TSEG had violated the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2000, based on the report of which the construction company was condemned to be guilty and fined $100,000 by the court.
According to John Watson, General Manager of WorkCover NSW Work Health and Safety Division, safety and security of the workers should be the highest priority of all employers, typically for those involved in heavy machinery and manufacturing industries. Taking safety precautions are a necessity, he acclaimed, since handling large products and heavy machinery can be immensely dangerous. Another company involved in the accident, Thomas and Coffey, had earlier been condemned of two work safety breaches. On found guilty, the company was fined $270,000 for staking the life of both the injured worker and other employees in danger.
The construction company lacked the risk assessment capability in diagnosing whether the frame was completely attached to the crane before the bolts were removed; as the result the injury caused amputation of the worker. WorkCover vows to work with TSEG to ensure that such incidents never happen in the future.