Coroner call for flotation devices after Rio port death

AAPThe West Australian

The death of a 28-year-old Irish scaffolder at Rio Tinto’s iron ore export port in Dampier has prompted a coroner to recommend people working over or near water wear a personal flotation device.

Shaun McBride was dismantling a scaffold underneath the loading jetty at East Intercourse Island on June 4, 2011 when he inadvertently knocked out a wedge, leading to the ledger on which he was standing being unsupported and giving way under his weight.

He had not hooked his fall arrest system on to the correct load-bearing attachment point, so he plunged into the water, loaded down by his safety gear and equipment, and desperate attempts to rescue him failed due to the deep water and lack of visibility.

Coroner Ros Fogliani said the committees for the relevant Australian Standards should consider amending them to ensure that people working over or near water — or any liquid in which they could drown — wear an approved PFD.

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