Fine for death of workers
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