Worksites in Victoria have been told to stop using dozens of cranes, and conduct safety checks on others, after investigators found the death of a Melbourne worker was likely caused by a mechanical failure.
WorkSafe is investigating the death of the man in his 40s, who was killed when a kibble, or container, of wet concrete fell from a crane and onto the worksite below.
A man in his 20s suffered life-threatening injuries and a third man was also injured on the Box Hill worksite last Thursday.
WorkSafe said a preliminary investigation found the failure or malfunction of a key component of the crane, known as a wedge socket, was likely to have contributed to the man’s death.
The crane was manufactured by Raimondi. Clarks Cranes is the exclusive dealer of Raimondi cranes in Victoria and Queensland.
Clarks Cranes has now issued a cease work order for all 65 Raimondi cranes currently in use in Victoria until a safety audit has been conducted.
WorkSafe said an independent expert would monitor the audit by Clarks Cranes to ensure it was done correctly.
Construction union CFMEU had called for a safety review of crane operations in Victoria after the man’s death.
The acting executive director of health and safety at WorkSafe, Paul Fowler, said there was no reason to think other cranes were faulty, but safety checks were important nonetheless.
“The component which we believe contributed to this incident is an integral part of the hoist rope system on most cranes,” he said in a statement.
“While there is no reason at this point to suggest this may be faulty on any other crane, a tragic incident such as the one which occurred on Thursday should prompt all crane owners and operators to inspect each and every crane in the state.
“It is essential that all hoist-rope termination assemblies are inspected to ensure they are appropriately installed, compliant and functioning according to manufacturer’s specifications.
“If crane operators or owners are unsure about the safety of any crane component they should seek specialist advice.”
Mr Fowler also said companies operating cranes needed to ensure their loads did not move over workers, and were not suspended above them.