Crane driver faces manslaughter charge after fatal workplace incident

A crane driver has been charged with manslaughter after a fatal workplace incident which occurred in August 2016.

The charges have been laid in response to an incident involving a mobile crane on the University of Canberra Hospital Construction site in Bruce (in Canberra’s north) on 4 August 2016.

Charges have also been laid on a number of operators, managers and supervisors who had responsibilities on the project.

A crane was being used to move an 11 tonne generator on the site when Mr Herman Holtz, 62, a worker at the site was killed.

Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said the extensive investigation into this incident gathered evidence that suggests significant and systemic failure to take into account the safety of the workers on the site.

“It is alleged that a number of people made several very poor decisions, repeatedly over a period of time, in undertaking that lift,” Mr Jones said.

“The evidence gathered under this investigation suggests that the risk of serious injury or death in what they were doing was obvious and readily apparent.

“However, despite the risks, they continued in their task which resulted in the mobile crane exceeding its design capabilities to such a degree that it overturned with tragic consequences.

“Based on the evidence obtained in relation to the circumstances surrounding this incident that resulted in the death of a person, a strong regulatory response is required and has been provided.”

Mr Jones said WorkSafe ACT, in close co-operation with ACT Policing, conducted an extensive and detailed investigation into the incident.

“The investigation was very complex and technical in parts,” he said.

“The brief of evidence was around 30,000 pages; included about 2000 photographs; had extensive video footage; used 3D computer modelling; and with nearly 150 witnesses potentially being identified.

 

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