Safety Report: Incident Involving Canberra Construction Company

The Accident and Government Penalties

Safety has always been the primary concern of any organisation present all around the globe. This is the reason behind why the Australian federal government is so vocal regarding the various different safety related incidents happening within the country. The chosen company for this report is the Canberra construction company of Australia. This paper shall focus upon the case of the death of truck driver and the penalties that have been imposed by the Australian government on the Canberra Construction company. This paper will shed light on describing workplace and hazards. Along with this it shall also describe how the safety breach could have been avoided in the workplace. Furthermore, it would also describe the situation in the company that has led to the emergence of hazards there and the way in which the SAFEWORK have resolved the issue. Moreover, this paper would provide some significant suggestions on what could have been done differently in order to resolve the issue and how it would have been addressed if I would have been working in the workplace.

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The Workplace

After the very accident of the truck driver, several investigations were made by the Australian government on the different policies and procedures in regards to the risk and safety management within Canberra Construction Company. It has been identified that there were loop holes present within the management but it is to note that the firm showed no repentance for the very case. They were not sorry for the death of a human which actually happed because of their own negligence. The name of driver was Michel Booth (Abc.net.au, 2018). Although the firm showed no trace of tension, the Australian government took this incident very seriously. The condition of the family of the driver was pathetic and this was taken into consideration by the Australian Industrial Magistrate, Lorraine Walker. He had accused Kenoss encouraging and allowing poor internal corporate culture within the firm. With the same, one of the significant factor behind the incident was that the internal management decisions were not made in proper way in Canberra Construction Company and it was on the verge of this mishap from a long period of time (Corrs.com.au, 2017). It was also identified that the safety officer of the firm, who was the son of the general manger had no clue regarding the safety operations that are been carried out within the company and this was because of his lack of adequate qualification, knowledge, and idea about how to carry out the work in effective manner (Friend & Kohn, 2018).

Identification of Safety Breaches

Furthermore, it is to state that as per Friend and Kohn (2018), the safety breaches are necessary to be maintained in every organisations belonging from any industry.  Kenoss tried its best to stop the procedure of investigation and they used several strategies to do so. Many of the safety policies and procedures have been violated. The management of the working site was poorly maintained. Along with this, there was absence of safety flags and signs which would help the workers in identifying that they were already in danger and must hold whatever work they are doing. Also, there was a smaller storage compound but it was kept unlocked. There was a great need to keep the place being locked to protect the property inside it (Xiang et al., 2014). It is also to note that the biggest issue in the power lines is the fact that the electricity have not been turned off at the time of working at the site. This in turn had increased the chances of electrocution accidents in greater level. Moreover, it is also to mention that there was no usage of spotters in the site of work where the worker was working. This again have increased the risk level by increasing the chances of danger for the workers working there (Yoon et al., 2013).

Kenoss contractors had breached most of the safety rules. It is to state that the incident could have been avoided if the proper actions could have been taken in the best ways. The alternatives or alteration of the record of attendance of the worker, Mr Booth could be conveyed as a sheer breach of the workplace safety rules. Also, the deaths within the workplace could also be avoided if the policies, rules, regulations and practices were in the best interest of the workers (Vivoda & Fulcher, 2017).

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As per the Australian Industrial magistrate, the workplace was completely neglected in the Canberra Construction Company and that have brought in the unfortunate and unwanted death of Mr Michael Booth. She has also mentioned electrocution has the reason behind this event. The electrical wires were been kept in a manner that they were not visible to the naked eyes as because of the presence of vegetation in that surrounding case (Guiso, Sapienza & Zingales, 2015). With the same, it is also to mention that she have declared that the power lines were also not visible and completely clear to the normal people who used to go there.

Reasons for the Safety Breaches

The incident could have been avoided if some simple safety precautions from the parts of the company management department were taken in proper way (Vivoda & Fulcher, 2017). The charge against the project manager named Munir al Hasani came out. It was identified by the industrial magistrate that the project manager did not try to inform the visitors about the risks associated with the workplace or the sites. He did not warned any one of them from visiting the site without proper measures. This failure of his has been identified. Also, it is said that the project manager did not even make any arrangements for the risk management operations, although the primary role of a project manager is to manage the risks within the organization and the site. Hence, he has a great contribution in the entire mishap. Finally, the industrial magistrate declared the verdict of making the firm go into liquidation and with the same, have also suggested that the firm shall be given sentence at the next date. Hence, Kenoss failed to secure the health and safety of his employees and it is an unforgivable breach of the rules and regulations of workplace (Roper & Fill, 2012).

The SAFEWORK Australia gave their ideas and opinions in relation to the incident about hhow to resolve the issue in best possible way. The National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) had also come for investigation upon the same. They investigated the spot and concluded saying that the firm had completely breached the workplace safety rules and regulations (Pouliakas & Theodossiou, 2013). It was a very serious offence as they were not capable of taking care of the health and safety of their workers and employees. An event as such (death of an individual solely because of organisational negligence) had been condemned highly across the nation. After the hearing in the Industrial Court of Australia, the firm was fined an amount of 1.1 billion dollars (Canberratimes.com.au, 2018). It is also to mention that the SAFEWORK Australia had started to carry out risk assessment procedure and was highly effective. It has also identified that the authority was wholly unaware of the fact that health and safety of the employees was at a high risk. They also did not do proper health monitoring of the workers (Pouliakas & Theodossiou, 2013). The risk assessment procedures were also not carried out effectively and the reduction procedures of the risk were not applied to any extent. With the same there was absence of accurate infrastructure as suggested as per the model codes of practice for the SAFEWORK Australia.

Alternative Safety Measures

Firstly, the management department of the company should have restricted these sites for the workers to work as they were lot of risks presents in that area and the contractors were aware of this. Secondly, proper risk assessment should have been carried out in the workplace in proper manner before delivering the work. Thirdly, all the employees working in the organisation should have been warned by the management authority regarding the risks in the working sites and they were to be provided with certain effective guidelines in order to access those sites if required. This main reason behind doing this is that there were potential risks in those sites and therefore, the line of accessing those points for the workers should be restricted. They could have built a fence like structure all around the work site and the place where the electrical wires were kept with big banners of the sign of “danger” so that anyone, trying to pass that area gets aware of the risk associated with it (Zanko & Dawson, 2012). Fourthly, the supply of the electricity should have been turned off by the electrical department head or any other body who was aware of the risk if the delivery is scheduled in the working site. Fifthly, the workers could have been provided with spotters so that they could have taken them with themselves to deliver the goods. Sixthly, the flags should have be placed at the lines so the truck drivers would be able to see them from far. Seventhly, each of the users who were using the work site should be made aware of the risks that are associated with using this site. Lastly, a site induction should be conducted by the project manager of the company to ensure absence of risk and loss of lives in the workplace due to working in those sites (Robson et al., 2012).

Conclusion

From the above discussion it is clear that incident in Canberra Construction Company at Kennoss was a very unfortunate incident for the family of the workers. The lack of safety and risk management in the workplace has resulted in such a pathetic situation and due to this, the firm has been liquidated by the Australian government and also many penalties including the penalty of 1.1 million dollars have been imposed on it (Enhancesolutions.com.au, 2018). If the organisation is still maintained in the same manner like it was till date, then no would is potential enough to stop it from getting shattered. It is to note that the maintenance of proper safety working cultures within an organisation is very important and the lack of safety has resulted in this incident in Canberra Construction Company. It has not followed most of the workplace safety measures during its business operation. This is one of the best example for all the organisations for why workplace health, safety and risk measures and policies are necessary to be followed.

References

Abc.net.au. (2018). Canberra construction company fined $1.1m over death of truck driver. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-19/construction-company-fined-1-million-over-workplace-death/6708032

Canberratimes.com.au (2018). Kenoss Contractors fined $ 1.1 million for workplace death. Retrieved from https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/kenoss-contractors-fined-11-million-for-workplace-death-20150819-gj2fra.

Corrs.com.au (2017). Who is an officer under the model work health and safety act? Retrieved from https://www.corrs.com.au/publications/corrs-in-brief/who-is-an-officer-under-the-model-work-health-and-safety-act/

Enhancesolutions.com.au (2018). Poor Safety Culture and Lack of Systems Lead to Fatality. Retrieved from https://www.enhancesolutions.com.au/blog/poor-safety-culture-and-lack-of-systems-lead-to-fatality

Friend, M. A., & Kohn, J. P. (2018). Fundamentals of occupational safety and health. Rowman & Littlefield.

Guiso, L., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2015). The value of corporate culture. Journal of Financial Economics, 117(1), 60-76.

Pouliakas, K., & Theodossiou, I. (2013). The economics of health and safety at work: an interdiciplinary review of the theory and policy. Journal of Economic Surveys, 27(1), 167-208.

Robson, L. S., Stephenson, C. M., Schulte, P. A., Amick III, B. C., Irvin, E. L., Eggerth, D. E., … & Peters, R. H. (2012). A systematic review of the effectiveness of occupational health and safety training. Scandinavian journal of work, environment & health, 193-208.

Roper, S., & Fill, C. (2012). Corporate reputation: brand and communication. Harlow: Pearson.

Vivoda, V., & Fulcher, J. (2017). Occupational Health and Safety (No. Mining Legislation Reform Initiative, Working Paper No. 6, pp. 1-8). Mining Legislation Reform Initiative, AUA Center for Responsible Mining.

Xiang, J., Bi, P., Pisaniello, D., & Hansen, A. (2014). Health impacts of workplace heat exposure: an epidemiological review. Industrial health, 52(2), 91-101.

Yoon, S. J., Lin, H. K., Chen, G., Yi, S., Choi, J., & Rui, Z. (2013). Effect of occupational health and safety management system on work-related accident rate and differences of occupational health and safety management system awareness between managers in South Korea’s construction industry. Safety and health at work, 4(4), 201-209.

Zanko, M., & Dawson, P. (2012). Occupational health and safety management in organizations: A review. International Journal of Management Reviews, 14(3), 328-344.