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Risk and safety management is considered to be the most important aspect for organizations culture as it helps in ensuring safety practices and adhering to governmental norms. This study focuses on a construction company in Canberra that has been fined $1.1 million due to the death of a truck driver. It highlights workplace hazards and ways it could have been prevented. In addition, it focuses on actual happenings and ways SAFEWORK could have resolved the issue. Ways by which this accident could have been prevented has been analyzed. Reflection has also been provided regarding the ways safety systems in the workplace can be implemented.
Findings and Analysis
Description of workplace
Kenosis contractors Pty Ltd is a construction company in Canberra that is involved in street and highways construction. According to Taylor (2015), the company has not been able to adhere to safety norms which have resulted in electrocution of the driver. It has poor working culture as the son of general manager has been appointed as safety officer in spite of having no qualification for the job. Wok site of the contractors is under power lines and no safety measures have been implemented which has resulted in this accident. Apathetic and negligence attitude of employees have led to electrocution. The company lacks coordination and cooperation with its employees and its poor corporate culture has made employees dissatisfied (2cc.net.au, 2018).
Description of hazards
According to Inman (2015), the construction has been fined $1.1 million due to its failure in its safety measures with respect to the death of a truck driver. Booth's truck has come in contact with Low slung power lines which have resulted in electrocution. Sadgrove (2016) is of the view that accidents in construction companies can result from working under or near power lines, handling of chemicals and dealing with faulty types of equipment. In this case, the company has not taken proper steps in warning these workers regarding the hazards and has failed to cooperate with the authorities in time of investigation (Taylor, 2015). The incident has happened on the working site of Canberra Company Kenoss Contractors.
Ways safety breach could have been avoided
Safety breach could have been appointed if the company has issued a safety warning to its employees and abolition of work site under power lines. The company should have implemented the guidelines of Occupational Health and Safety act 2004 and Workhealth and Safety Act 2011 for preventing these types of accidents (content.safetyculture.com.au, 2015). Moreover, the abolition of work site under power lines could have prevented this accident. As per the Occupational Health and Safety act 2004, it is important for the companies to implement adequate health and safety measures for preventing workplace accidents (worksafe.qld.gov.au, 2016). In addition, adequate compensation should be provided to workers who have died or suffered injuries due to an accident in the workplace. On the other hand, the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 states of a framework which are required to be followed by companies for protecting the safety, welfare, and health of workers (worksafe.qld.gov.au, 2016).
Mr. Booth of Gunning has been delivering a load consisting of gravel type materials to a road resurfacing project which has been run by Kenosis Contractors. He has taken the load to a small fenced off compound in the worksite where piping and other piles of material has been lying. The truck of Mr. Booth either has been connected or came close to the power lines, resulting in an electrical arc which is strong enough for deflating the tires and leaving burn marks on the road (whitecardonlineexpress.com.au, 2015). At that moment, Booth has jumped out of the truck and collapsed which has resulted in death. The prosecution has alleged that serious safety breaches have resulted in a fatality.
There have been no signs of warning on the live power lines, the compound has not been locked and it has appeared to be a dumping ground. Nothing has been done to turn off the power lines during working hours, no visual warnings have been attached to make it more visible and worksite has been poorly managed (nsca.org.au, 2015). Moreover, the company has not obliged by guidelines of Corporate law as the security officer has no enough influence or control in operations. It has been found that the maximum penalty which the court can impose for safety breaches is $1.5 million (cgw.com.au, 2016). Moreover, the risks have been known to the company and affordable and simple methods could have helped in avoiding death.
Ways SAFEWORK could have resolved the issue
Model WHS regulations state that the person who is commissioned with construction work need to consult with the designer for safety matters and safety measures which can prevent accidents. Under this model of the WHS Act, the person in control or management of a workplace needs to ensure that activities in the workplace do not lead to risks for any individuals (safework.nsw.gov.au, 2016). In this case, SAFEWORK could have helped the company to implement adequate safety measures and issues warnings to workers. It could have helped the driver of the company to know areas of risks and reduce working under power lines. As per the duties of work health and safety, specific duties which are applicable to contractors include giving required knowledge about safety procedures to workers. The duty of the workers is to inform, keep, review and prepare others regarding WHS management plan in the construction area. The above-mentioned procedures could have helped the company to prevent the accident and give $1.1 million due to safety breaches.
Ways by which accident could have been prevented
The construction company could have prevented this accident by following appropriate work health and safety duties and issue warnings to its workers. The work site should not be under power lines and flags or safety warnings should have given regarding live power lines. According to Gurcanli, Bilir & Sevim (2015), the work site should have properly managed and it should not have an appearance like that of a dumping ground.
During the working hours, the power lines should have been cut and the systematic approach should have been implemented for reducing the accidents. This could have prevented the aforementioned accident. However, this heavy fine has given a strong warning to the companies regarding safety procedures and processes to be adopted. As per the view of Tappura, Sievänen, Heikkilä, Jussila, & Nenonen (2015), a Strong message is required to be given to employees for addressing the risks of working near or under overhead power lines. However, the minister of Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations is of the view that this would be sent a strong message to the construction industry regarding the importance of safety in the workplace and well-known risks which are associated with working under or near active power lines.
Reflection regarding safety systems in the workplace
If I have been responsible for the safety systems in the workplace, then I would have given flags or warning systems in the site near power lines which could have prevented the accident. As a safety officer, it is my responsibility to monitor and control the internal operations so that the workers remain protected from accidents. I would have ensured that adequate workplace safety and health duty is implemented so that the health of the driver would not have jeopardized. In the words of Wu, Liu, Zhang, Skibniewski & Wang (2015), adequate corporate culture and effective communication is required so that employees are aware of safety rules and regulations. A strong safety approach would have been implemented so that workers would not have faced any safety problems while doing their duties.
I would have implemented a proper safety and health Care framework which could have helped in giving adequate compensation to the electrocuted driver. Power lines would have been cut during working hours and adequate safety mechanisms would have been put in place so that it could have given a signal when the truck has entered in power lines. In addition to this, effective communication and coordination would have been implemented for ensuring that the needs and interests of the employees have been paid heed. Implementation of regular monitoring and reviewing system would have helped in getting regular updates of the company.
Recommendations and Conclusion
It can be recommended that the construction company should have implemented adequate health and safety standards which could have prevented this accident. The other construction companies should take it as the outcomes if they are not able to implement adequate safety measures and ensure workplace safety. Moreover, the government needs to be stringent and vigilant for ensuring adequate implementation of safety and health laws. The trail which is conducted for accidents and work safety issues should be completed in a time bound manner so that it can create deterrence among employees of other organizations. In addition, the government should set a special committee which should monitor and review workplace safety and health standards implemented by companies.
It can be concluded that Canberra construction company Kenosis contractors Pty Ltd has failed to implement adequate health and safety standards which could have prevented electrocution of the truck driver. It is the negligence of the company for providing adequate safety and health procedures for employees. The heavy penalty that has been imposed by the court should act as a deterrent for those companies who have been unable to implement adequate safety and risk management. Moreover, the company has tried to falsify records and data of the driver to hinder the investigation and given no compensation for the death of the driver. It is the responsibility of the security offered to ensure that the workplace safety and health are maintained. Moreover, the management should have given more power and authority to the officer for controlling workplace accidents. A strong safety approach and adequate warning systems would have helped in preventing the accident and company paying huge millions as a fine.
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2. cgw.com.au. (2016) Contractor fined $1.1 million for truck driver’s electrocution death Retrieved on 11 Jan 2018 from: https://www.cgw.com.au/publication/contractor-fined-1-1-million-for-truck-drivers-electrocution-death/
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