Fine for death of work­ers

The West Australian - - NEWS - Shan­non Hamp­ton

A truck­ing com­pany was yes­ter­day fined $160,000 over the deaths of two young Ir­ish con­struc­tion work­ers who were crushed by con­crete pan­els at a city work site more than two years ago.

Joseph McDer­mott, 24, and Ger­ard Bradley, 27, were crushed by heavy tilt-up pan­els that fell as they were be­ing un­loaded from a trailer at an East Perth con­struc­tion site in Novem­ber 2015. Mr McDer­mott had arrived in Perth just weeks be­fore his death and Mr Bradley was on a work­ing visa.

Axedale Hold­ings, which trades as Shaw’s Cartage Con­trac­tors, was fined in the Perth Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day af­ter the com­pany pleaded guilty to fail­ing to en­sure the safety of peo­ple who were not their em­ploy­ees.

Shortly be­fore their deaths, Mr McDer­mott and Mr Bradley had en­tered an area pop­u­lar with smok­ers that was ad­ja­cent to the trailer but had not been de­clared an ex­clu­sion zone.

Six of the pan­els on the trailer, weigh­ing more than three tonnes each, had not been in­di­vid­u­ally re­strained. As a crane lifted the third panel from one side of the trailer, it be­came un­bal­anced and the re­main­ing pan­els slipped and crashed on top of the two work­ers.

In sen­tenc­ing, Deputy Chief Mag­is­trate El­iz­a­beth Woods said the men’s deaths were “pre­ventable”, say­ing there were “sim­ple and prac­ti­cal” steps the com­pany could have taken to en­sure the pan­els were se­cured.

Ms Woods said it was “un­for­tu­nate” the com­pany was un­aware of the codes sur­round­ing mov­ing and un­load­ing con­crete pan­els at the time but noted it had since im­ple­mented new safety poli­cies and had em­ployed more staff.

WorkSafe com­mis­sioner Ian Munns said the com­pany’s fail­ure to have the proper sys­tems in place was a “gross un­der-es­ti­ma­tion of the ter­ri­ble fore­see­able risks when mov­ing con­crete pan­els”. Axedale Hold­ings was also or­dered to pay $2200 in costs.

Joseph McDer­mott and Ger­ard Bradley

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