Construction Company Fined $50,000 after worker crushed


Construction Company Fined $50,000 after worker crushed

Matt Turner | Managing Director


In a tragic incident, a man was crushed to death while working on a truck as it was being loaded with machinery. After an investigation, the civil construction company was found guilty of failing to provide a safe work environment, and was fined $50,000.

What happened?

The incident, which happened in 2017, involved a worker standing on the upper deck of a truck as it was being loaded with machinery.

As a drum roller was being reversed onto the lower deck. It sped up suddenly, which launched it onto the upper deck, crushing the worker. He suffered fatal chest injuries.

The company pleaded guilty of failing to provide, as far as was reasonably practicable, a safe place of work, per Part 3 the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.


What went wrong?

The incident could have been avoided if steps had been taken to prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) to manage risks when loading or unloading powered mobile plant. The investigation cited that a SWMS had not been prepared.

In previous Plant Assessor articles, we have raised the issues associated with the transport of rollers in particular and the issues associated with the low coefficient of friction of steel (roller drums) on steel (ramps/truck decks) when being loaded, transported and unloaded.  This aspect of an SWMS is critical in considering safe loading, load restraint and unloading procedures for this type and similar types of equipment.  There have been many catastrophic incidents involving the transport of rollers.

Commenting on the incident, Andrew Keen, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety said, “Employers must take the time to identify risks in the workplace and take all reasonable steps to remove or reduce these risks. This includes providing clear and written procedures for all aspects of high-risk tasks and making sure that those procedures are followed.”


To manage risks when loading or unloading powered mobile plant at site, employers should:

  • Prepare and implement a Safe Work Method Statement for high risk construction work, in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives
  • Ensure the SWMS considers:
    • The type of plant to be loaded
    • Exclusion of persons, including ‘spotters’, from the immediate vicinity and potential travel path of the plant
    • Suitability of the transport vehicle, including traction of the deck material, dimensions and load rating of the deck and ramps, tie down and lashing points, loading or unloading methods, and winching equipment on to and off tilt-trays (if relevant)
    • Competencies and experience required to operate the transport vehicle and any equipment used to load the plant, including powered plant if it needs to be driven on/off the transporter
    • Environmental conditions of the site
    • Fall protection for the delivery worker
  • Ensure powered mobile plant is regularly serviced and inspected to ensure the machinery will operate safely as designed


Put your own safety processes through its paces

Incidents such as this are a good reminder to ensure your machines are up to code, with an assessment of your own safety systems.We’ve developed a step-by-step machinery safety systems health check, that walks you through  each area of your safety systems and shows you how to improve.

It’s completely free to download, and simple to complete.

Download Now


Here to help

To speak with a member of the Plant Assessor team on how we can help you manage your machinery safety and compliance processes, call 1300 728 852 or email

Disclaimer: This information is intended to provide general information on the subject matter. This is not intended as legal or expert advice for your specific situation. You should seek professional advice before acting or relying on the content of this information.

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