Crane Accidents

Worker Dies in Karratha Crane Accident


A major union says the death of a 43-year-old crane operator and rigger at Karratha in Western Australia’s Pilbara region underlines the need for union access to worksites.

Worksafe WA inspectors were sent to the Pelago West apartment block construction site where it’s believed the man was crushed by a concrete well lid that fell as it was being lifted by crane on Wednesday morning.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) WA secretary Kevin Reynolds said the union had been at loggerheads with the site’s builder-developer Hanssen Pty Ltd over safety issues and union access.

He said that in the last week two workers had died and another had lost his legs from accidents in WA’s Northwest region, underlying the need for unions to be given greater access to work sites.

“Companies need to see the value in working with unions and allowing proper union safety protocols to operate on their sites,” he said.

Mr Reynolds accused WorkSafe of becoming “a toothless tiger”, investigating deaths but not appearing to have the capability to prevent them.

Acting WorkSafe WA executive director Andrea Crichton-Browne said in a statement that any work-related death was a tragedy and she relayed her condolences to the man’s family.

The latest workplace fatality in the Pilbara comes less than a week after a 27-year-old contractor was killed when a crane fell on him at BHP Billiton’s iron ore loading facility at Finucane Island in Port Hedland.

On Friday a contractor aged in his forties had his legs crushed in an accident at Fortescue Metals Groups port operations.

Category: Accident Report

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