Death of road worker serves as reminder of importance of safety protocols

Date: Dec 19, 2012

The death of a road worker who died on a Leighton construction project in July 2010 serves as a reminder of the importance of maintaining adequate safety on site, says WorkCover NSW general manager of health and safety John Watson.

“This is a sad reminder of the need to maintain proper safety protocols,” Mr Watson said in a statement issued December 14.

“Working on construction sites can be dangerous and that is why every precaution must be taken to protect workers.”

Leighton has just been fined $350,000 after pleading guilty to being in breach of the Occupational Health & Safety Act.

The incident, which occurred on July 1 2010, resulted in the death of a 39-year-old male. The deceased was filling out paperwork after refuelling a front end loader when he was crushed between two heavy vehicles.

The crash happened on the Hume Highway, where Leighton was the principal contractor for the construction of the Tarcutta Bypass, a $50 million project.

An investigation ensued and it was revealed that Leighton did not have adequate safety protocols in place.

For example, they did not have designated times or places for refuelling and this meant that work was allowed to recommence before refuelling operators had left the area.

In addition, there was not enough communication between operators and other drivers, nor was there adequate training for front end loader operators.

“Leighton had a safe work method statement for refuelling plant but they had not ensured their staff that operated mobile plant equipment had been trained in the procedure,” Mr Watson said.
“Working on construction sites can be dangerous and that is why every precaution must be taken to protect workers.”

Now that the fine has been issued WorkCover will work closely with Leighton to make sure that similar incidents are prevented, Mr Watson added.

This occurrence highlights how dangerous construction work can be if the right protocols are not in place.

In a separate statement, WorkCover NSW has also issued a reminder to construction site controllers to ensure that all sites are adequately locked down over the holiday break so that they do not pose a threat to the public.

Workers in this industry may want to know that if they are injured on the job they may be able to apply for workers compensation. There are lawyers in Sydney that can help you make a claim.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.