Call for safety change after 800kg soakwell lid crushes worker

AAPThe West Australian

A WA coroner says an urgent amendment should be made to occupational health and safety regulations after a 43-year-old man was crushed to death while working on a Pilbara apartment complex.

Robert Stephan Hamiora Serjeant had been working on a fly-in, fly-out basis at the Pelago West development in Karratha in July 2011 when an 800kg concrete soakwell lid fell on him, killing him instantly.

As the lid was lifted by a crane onto a flatbed truck, the connection on a cable snapped, causing it to flip and fall on to the experienced rigger, who was about 5m away holding a tagline to stop the lid swinging into other objects.

The clutches and anchor pins were mismatched as they were designed to bear differently weighted loads.

Also, the load was inherently unstable because there were only two lifting points, allowing the anchor head to slip through the slot in the clutch when the soakwell tipped.

The relevant Australian Standard doesn’t apply to civil works, which coroner Barry King says should change as soon as possible.

“It is ... a no brainer,” Mr King said in findings released on Monday.

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