Every crane in Victoria should to be checked, authorities urge, after a key part was likely to have contributed to the death of a construction worker last week.
The 46-year-old died after he and a co-worker were submerged in concrete which fell from a crane at a Box Hill construction site on Thursday afternoon.
The other man, 28, sustained life threatening injuries and remains in a serious condition in hospital, while a third man suffered non-life threatening injuries when a kibble carrying the concrete fell from a Raimondi hammerhead tower crane and struck the trio.
Preliminary results of a WorkSafe investigation found a suspected failure or malfunction of the hoist rope termination assembly – a key component on most cranes, also known as the wedge socket – is likely to have contributed to the incident.
WorkSafe acting executive director of Health and Safety Paul Fowler said Thursday’s tragic incident was serious enough to warrant checks on all cranes.
”The component which we believe contributed to this incident is an integral part of the hoist rope system on most cranes,” Mr Fowler said.
“While there is no reason at this point to suggest this may be faulty on any other crane, a tragic incident such as the one which occurred on Thursday should prompt all crane owners and operators to inspect each and every crane in the state.
“It is essential that all hoist-rope termination assemblies are inspected to ensure they are appropriately installed, compliant and functioning according to manufacturer’s specifications.”
Crane operators or owners unsure about the safety of any crane component should seek specialist advice, Mr Fowler urged.
WorkSafe has been liaising with crane and construction industry groups and interstate regulators on the issue since Friday, when it notified Clark Cranes, the crane operator at the Box Hill site, of its preliminary findings.
The company, which owns and sells Raimondi cranes, has issued a cease work on all its Raimondi cranes until a safety audit is done.
The audit will be overseen by an independent expert engaged by WorkSafe.
There are currently 65 Raimondi cranes operating in Victoria.
WorkSafe has also advised OHS regulators in other states of its findings.
Mr Fowler said companies operating cranes need to review their work systems so – as far as reasonably practicable – loads do not travel over or are suspended above workers.
The CFMEU says Clark Cranes was also involved in a crane collapse at Richmond in July.