A building company was fined $15,000 after four concrete
tilt-up panels collapsed at a Perth construction site in 2008.
The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the
removal of temporary bracing of the concrete panels was in accordance with
relevant Australian Standard.
According to investigations, four labourers were working with
the panels and removed six braces before the panels collapsed. Relevant
Australian Standard requires that tilt-up structures be inspected to ensure
that the structure is safe before removing braces. An inspection is usually
done by the designer or an authorised agent. A written approval to remove the
braces is given to the builder.
The Perth Magistrates Court found that the panels were not
inspected to ensure that it was already safe to remove the braces. There was
also no written approval given to do so. It was also revealed that at the time
of the incident, it was not the company’s usual practice to seek approval
before removing braces, which is contrary to Australian Standard.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Lex McCulloch said that the case
should serve as a reminder for companies not to take tilt-up construction
“Tilt-up construction is high-risk and the regulations are
there to ensure that the risks are avoided, or at least kept to a minimum,”
said Mr McCulloch.
“In this case, there was a high risk of serious injury or
even death of any of the labourers had been struck by the falling panels.
“With work like this, it is imperative that everyone
understands their role and at what stage in the process it is safe to remove
the bracing so the panels do not collapse.
“An enormous amount of time and resources has been invested
in lessening the risks involved in tilt-up construction over recent years, and
it is disappointing to see that some operators are still not complying with the
“A comprehensive code of practice on tilt-up and precast
concrete construction has been available for some years, and copies of the
current code should be made available on all sites where tilt-up work is taking
The construction site’s supervisor was fined $60,000 over
this incident in July 2011.