The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

John Holland Fined for Wayne Moore Fatality

Graham Marshall - Friday, April 27, 2012

The maximum civil penalty of AUD $242,000 has been handed-down this week by the Federal Court to Leighton Holdings following the death of  worker Wayne Moore, 45.

Wayne, who was an employee of John Holland, fell 10 meters after he stepped onto an unsecured sheet of grid mesh at BHP Billiton’s Mount Whaleback mine at Newman on March 19th, 2009.

Workplace inspectors found there had been two other incidents involving unsecured flooring mesh at the Mount Whaleback mine in the weeks leading up to Mr Moore’s death.

The Federal Court ruled that John Holland had breached federal work health and safety laws by failing to take all reasonably practicable steps to protect the health and safety of its workers.

The AUD $242,000 fine imposed on John Holland is the maximum civil penalty upon a company for a breach of the general duty of care requirements under the Commonwealth OHS Act.

In addition to the fine, the Court imposed an enforceable undertaking from John Holland and John Holland Group, requiring them to implement better safety practices in their operations across Australia.

They are also required to share these improvements with the construction industry, including through the Federal Safety Commissioner.

The court decision sends a message to unsafe employers about the serious consequences of failing to meet their OSH legal obligations.

That message is even more important for employers to understand, since new work health and safety laws came into force January 1 this year and the penalties available to Courts are now much higher for similar cases.


Dangerous Equipment - Cherry Picker

Graham Marshall - Thursday, March 01, 2012

I am continuing the theme started earlier this week and posting another example picture of unsafe equipment.

The photograph can be used in its own right as a daily "safety moment" to highlight the dangers of using unsafe equipment.

I've also put the pictures into a Power Point slide show to be used in a tool-box talk.

To access the Dangerous Equipment tool-box talk, visit the blog on Saturday 3rd of March.

Today's example of dangerous equipment shows an Elevating Work Platform (EWP) - "Cherry Picker" -  with the gate and whole rear safety barrier missing.  Another shocker!

Always remember to use the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process:

Hazards = kinetic energy of the workman up high in the basket;

Triggers = the broken gate and missing rear section are the main triggers here;

Potential incidents = fall from height;

Consequences = death or serious injury;

What should you do to control the hazards?


Dangerous Equipment - Vehicles

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Over the years of working in the safety field, I've come across numerous examples of unsafe equipment in use.

So over the coming week I'm posting pictures of some of the most "infamous" examples of unsafe equipment.

Each photograph can be used in its own right as a daily "safety moment" to highlight the dangers of using unsafe equipment.  Information for use in the tool-box talk is shown below the image.

I've also put the pictures into a Power Point slide show to be used in a tool-box talk.

To access the Dangerous Equipment tool-box talk, visit the blog on Saturday 3rd March 2012 .

Today's example of dangerous equipment shows a vehicle I recently noticed being driven around on site.  Quite a shocker!

Always remember to use the Think 6, Look 6 hazard management process:

Hazards = the kinetic energy involved in the vehicle's motion once it starts to move.  Kinetic energy in the form of stored pressure within the tyre itself;

Triggers = the damaged wheel rim is the main trigger here;

Potential incidents = tyre burst, roll over or vehicle collision; and explosive release of pressure causing people to be struck by flying rubber;

Consequences = death or serious injury in a vehicle accident, equipment damage, travel delay if a simple "flat" tyre;

What should you do to control the hazards?


Guardrails for Fall Prevention

Graham Marshall - Sunday, August 07, 2011

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, falls from height are the main cause of fatalities in the American construction industry. 

In the period between 2004 and 2008 over 2,050 construction workers died due to falls from height.

That tragic figure represents more than 35 per cent of all construction industry fatalities in the USA in the four-year period.

One in three of those fatalities resulted from workers falling from roof edges or falling through roof openings and skylights.

Such falls can be easily prevented using appropriately engineered temporary guardrails.

Mandatory regulations for guardrails for work at height in the US construction industry are found in OSHA 29 CFR 1926. 

Minimum safety requirements are also prescribed for construction and demolition activities in ANSI/ASSE A10.18 and for modifications and renovations to industrial and commercial facilities in ANSI/ASSE A1264.1.

A plain language version of OSHAs enforcement directive (STD 3.1A) for the construction industry can be found here.

EWP Best Practice - International Powered Access Federation

Graham Marshall - Thursday, August 04, 2011

Elevating Work Platforms (EWPs) often provide the safest method of performing temporary work at height with risk being reduceable to the ALARP level in circumstances where appropriate controls are in place.

But where risk is not ALARP, too many needless accidents resulting in death, injury and property damage occur due to inadequate training of operators and poor usage of aerial platforms.

In order to assist users of EWPs, the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) and US Scaffold Industry Association (SIA) have released a "best practices" document.

The Statement of Best Practices of General Training and Familiarization for Aerial Work Platform Equipment aims to educate employers and employees about industry-recognized standards including ANSI/SIA A92 and OSHA regulations.

The free EWP "best practices" document is available by clicking here.

Preventing falls on residential construction sites

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fatalities resulting from falls from height are the number one cause of workplace deaths on United States residential construction sites.

In response, OSHA today released its fall protection standard for use in residential construction.

Until today, residential construction employers were allowed to use alternatives to conventional fall protection safeguards without a written site-specific safety plan.

OSHA has now issued a compliance directive stating that employers involved with residential construction must provide workers with fall protection in line with the Standard (1926.501).

Compliance documents are available by clicking here.

A Risk Tool Box JSA on working at height is available by clicking here.

Safety is no accident - work at height

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Over the next few days I'm posting links to some provocative OSHA safety adverts.

They make the good point that accidents don't just happen.

In every workplace, there are always hazards and associated triggering mechanisms that need to be properly identified and controlled.

Click here to see the fourth advert.

To manage hazards and triggers at your work place, always Think 6, Look 6.

Risk Management for Work at Height

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, May 25, 2011
As an Australian Safety Practitioner, it is simply astonishing that OSHA Regulations in the USA allow for "free-climbing" in ways shown in this video!

Below is a reference from  Section 1910.269(g)(2)(v) of OSHA regulations which states:

"Fall protection equipment is not required to be used by a qualified employee climbing or changing location on poles, towers, or similar structures, unless conditions, such as, but not limited to, ice, high winds, the design of the structure (for example, no provision for holding on with hands), or the presence of contaminants on the structure, could cause the employee to lose his or her grip or footing".

The worker is more than 550 meters above ground surface on an antennae with no fall restraint.  Astounding!

You'll be scared! 

Click here to watch.

Tool Box Talk on Safety Triggers

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Today I'm presenting another free tool box talk about triggering mechanisms.

It's free to use and you'll find it by clicking here.

If it's useful, please leave a comment.

Best regards.

Dangers of Elevated Work Platforms

Graham Marshall - Monday, May 09, 2011

Working at height from an Elevated Work Platform (EWP) is perfectly safe provided all appropriate safety measures are implemented to manage the associated hazards. 


Where appropriate safety controls are not in place, the level of risk with EWPs increases rapidly and dramatically.

Featured below is a blog post on the investigation and prosection of the owners of Cable Beach Club Resort in Broome following a serious accident in which a worker was left permanently disabled following a fall from a "Squirrel-type" Cherry Picker.

Incident Investigation

Cable Beach Club Resort is an idyllic holiday destination in the Kimberly region of WA.  The resort has extensive manicured gardens with numerous palms and coconut trees.

In order to reduce the risk of coconuts dropping on guests, the resort had a program to prune the coconut trees. 

This involved a resort gardener using as an EWP that was owned by the resort.

The EWP was of the self-propelled variety with two extendable rear drive wheels and two front "castor-type" wheels. 

In order to stabilize this type of EWP and operate it safely, it is essential that the rear drive wheels are fully extended when in use and that each wheel is filled with water acting as "ballast".

With the wheels extended and water ballast in place, the EWP could be safely raised to a height of 6.5 meters where the employee would prune trees from a basket.

On the day of the accident, the gardener was working alone at height when he accidently depressed the emergency-stop button in the basket.

He called for another gardener to come to his assistance in re-starting the EWP - which could only be done from ground level.

The second gardener re-started the EWP but it "shuddered" and became unstable.

The gardener in the EWP basket shifted his position in an attempt to counter-balance the machine but it was too late.

The EWP with the employee in the basket toppled over and hit the ground. 

The employee struck his head on a concrete kerb receiving serious brain injuries. 

He remains permanently disabled and unable to care for himself. 

He will be unable to ever return to work.

The Prosecution

The owners of the Cable Beach Club Resort were prosecuted. 

Specifically - "Being an employer, did not so far as was practicable, provide and maintain a working environment in which its employees were not exposed to hazards and by that failure caused its employee serious harm and contravened sections 19(1) and 19A(2) of the OSH Act 1984.

An inspection of the EWP after the accident found that the EWP could not be safely used because of its poor condition.

Contrary to the operational instructions for the EWP, the two front castor wheel tyres had no water ballast and the right side drive wheel had incorrect water ballast.

It was also not possible to extend the rear or drive wheels outwards to stabilize the EWP due to corrosion of the pivot section.

The owners of the Cable Beach Club Resort pleaded guilty to the charge at Broome Magistrate's Court and were fined $60,000 with costs totalling $4,540.70.

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