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Company fined over safety breaches at army base

20 June 2023

Construction company Lendlease has been convicted and fined $100,000 over a workplace safety incident that seriously injured a worker at a Perth Defence base.

The incident occurred on 7 June 2017 during the Department of Defence’s redevelopment of Campbell Barracks in Swanbourne, where Lendlease Building Contractors Pty Ltd was the principal contractor.

Workers for subcontractor Kuredale Pty Ltd were using a crane to lift a steel truss when it hit a section of steel truss frame attached to a concrete slab.

The truss frame, weighing close to 200kg, detached and fell – narrowly missing several workers – and landed on a worker’s foot, causing injuries that resulted in the amputation of a toe. The injured worker was a bricklayer employed by another sub-contractor.

Following an investigation by regulator Comcare, Lendlease and Kuredale were charged with contravening the federal Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act). It was alleged they failed to implement an exclusion zone and provide adequate training, instruction and supervision to workers.

Kuredale (trading as Metro Lintels) pleaded guilty to two counts and was convicted and fined $75,000 in October 2021. Lendlease contested a single charge and was found guilty following a trial in the Perth Magistrates Court, with the company sentenced on 16 June 2023.

All charges are Category 2 offences under the WHS Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1.5 million each.

Comcare Chief Executive Officer Greg Vines said Lendlease had been aware of ongoing issues relating to exclusion zones at the site.

“There were persistent and serious failures in the maintenance and enforcement of exclusion zones, including incidents involving Kuredale,” Mr Vines said.

“The risks to workers were significant and foreseeable. The incident would have been prevented by implementing the simple control of having an effective exclusion zone in place.”

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Date printed 21 Apr 2024