OSH alert – Samson Brook Dam load failure (February 2016)

Key learnings from a high potential incident.

HPI OSH Alert #477

Date of incident: 23 February 2016

Safety Flash issued: 25 February 2016

What happened?

A 2.2T concrete formwork shutter, 4.8m wide and 6.3m high, was incorrectly rigged and the lift failed resulting in the shutter falling to ground level (approximately 500mm).

Why did this happen?

  • The site supervisor (qualified dogman) was called in to assist in the absence of the supervising dogman.
  • The site supervisor did not have an appropriate handover and was unfamiliar with the rigging technique for the shutters. The incorrect rigging method was applied causing the chains to slip and the load to fall to ground level.
  • The engineered lifting eyes were not installed on the shutter.
  • There was an inadequate review of the Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) prior to activity taking place.
  • A specific SWMS was not in place for all the crane lifts occurring on the site.

What will the contractor involved in the incident do to stop this from happening again?

  • Ensure verification of competencies are completed for all site personnel.
  • Conduct a review of current SWMS, and ensure appropriate SWMS are in place and regularly checked for all High Risk tasks.
  • Ensure all formwork shutters are lifted as detailed on the design drawings by attaching lifting eyes to all shutters, and incorporating an appropriate step in the SWMS.
  • Conduct relevant toolbox talks and stress the importance for workers to stop work if they have any safety concerns.

What will our organisation do to stop this from happening again?

  • We will review the Asset Delivery Process to ensure:
    • Safety Essentials are evident throughout the entire process, and explicitly linked from one part of the process to the next.
    • All High Risk Safety Essentials JSEA’s or SWMS are reviewed by the appropriate Contract Management personnel and SEA Branch OSH representative to ensure appropriate qualifications, resources, hazards, risks and controls are all identified and adequate.


Key learnings you can discuss with your team to stop this from happening again 

 Is anyone undertaking work that is associated with our Safety Essentials today?

  • Question 1 – What is the task you are performing today? Confined Space, Lifting, Excavating etc.
  • Question 2 – Do you have the appropriate qualifications and resources, and are you competent to perform the task safely?
  • Question 3 – Has a task specific JSEA or SWMS been developed, reviewed and signed by the working group for your supervisor to review before the task can commence? 

Ensure there is a formal handover process established to manage the changeover of key functions during high risk tasks.

  • Question 1 – Are we doing any high risk tasks today?
  • Question 2 – What situations would require handover of key functions during high risk tasks?
  • Question 3 – What handover process will our team establish and use for changeover of key functions during high risk tasks?

If you would like further information about this HPI OSH Alert, please contact Charis Neumann, Senior OSH Analyst Incidents on (08) 6330 6629.