Construction companies warned on heavy machinery

Construction companies operating in built-up areas are being warned not to put workers or members of the public at risk following two serious incidents where heavy machinery has struck suburban houses.


WorkSafe is investigating after the mast of a piling rig struck a neighbouring house at a construction site in Strathmore yesterday.

It is believed the rig was being loaded on to a float when it overturned and fell towards the house.

Last week a mobile crane lowering a spa bath into a backyard in Altona overbalanced, causing the boom to drop on to the roof of a neighbouring house.

WorkSafe Head of Hazardous Industries and Industry Practice Michael Coffey said the two incidents should serve as warnings to construction companies working in built-up areas about the need to carefully plan work that involved heavy machinery, and to ensure it was executed safely.

"Thankfully no one was injured in these incidents, but the damage caused shows just how dangerous operating large machines near houses can be," Mr Coffey said.

"Any construction company working in a built-up area needs to be mindful of the restrictions of the site they are working on and plan accordingly, because it is unacceptable to put the lives of workers, and neighbours, at risk."

When operating heavy machinery such as cranes and piling rigs, employers should ensure:

  • Appropriate machinery is used for the task.
  • A Safe Work Method Statement has been prepared, if necessary for the task.
  • Machinery is separated from workers and members of the public.
  • Exclusion zones for overhead powerlines and underground assets are implemented and maintained.
  • The condition of the ground has been assessed, and can support the machinery.
  • Operators are correctly trained and supervised and hold the correct high-risk work licence.