An investigation by WorkSafe found that the worker did not hold the high risk work licence required for dogging work and was therefore not trained in the slinging techniques she was applying during the lift. The company also failed to keep records of workers who held high risk work licences.
It was reasonably practicable for the company to have provided and maintained a safe system of work that ensured its lifts were only conducted by trained and qualified workers; that required employees to create a plan for lifting and moving loads, including identifying the appropriate technique, prior to each lift being undertaken; and have an up-to-date list of licensed workers available at the workplace. It was also reasonably practicable for the company to provide training for its workers to obtain a high-risk work licence.
WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said neglecting to adequately train workers for the job they were expected to do was setting them up to fail, adding that employers must have systems in place to ensure work is planned out before it starts and is only conducted by workers who are properly trained and qualified to do so. “It shouldn’t take a life-changing injury like the one suffered by this worker for employers to sit up and take notice of their responsibilities,” Beer said.
WorkSafe Victoria urges employers to manage the risks of using cranes by selecting the proper crane and lifting equipment for the task, size and weight of the load. Employers should also ensure that cranes are maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications and requirements, and operated within their design parameters.
Employers are advised to check that crane operators and persons connecting loads have the skills, training and licences to operate safely. Safe systems of work must also be created, with employers ensuring that all workers are trained and competent before commencing the task. The environmental factors (such as weather, ground-bearing capacity, overhead and underground services such as powerlines and pipes/drains) must also be considered. Non-essential persons should also be excluded from the area of operation. For construction work, a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) must also be created.