Crane hire company fined $12,000 for breaching safety regulations

A crane hire company in Western Australia was fined $12,000 at a retrial for failing to ensure the required number of people were involved in using their crane at a construction site. Halifax Crane Hire was found guilty of breaching the now-repealed Occupational Safety and Health Regulation dealing with the number of people required to be involved in the use of cranes, and was fined in the Bunbury Magistrates Court.

Halifax was originally fined $40,000 in May 2022 after a trial, and they appealed the conviction and sentence. The Supreme Court allowed the appeal against conviction and a retrial was held.

In March 2017, the company supplied a 70-tonne crane, a crane operator and a dogger to a construction site being run by Gran Designs WA to assist in moving concrete panels being used in the construction of a house in the South-West town of Yarloop.

The relevant regulation at the time required that the responsible person must ensure that where a crane with a maximum rated capacity of greater than 60 tonnes is used at a construction site, there must also be at least one dogger and one rigger or two doggers or two riggers involved in the use of the crane, as well as a crane operator.

Each must have experience in the use of such a crane. In this instance, Halifax sent one dogger and one crane operator, and there was no other licensed dogger or rigger at the construction site.

Acting WorkSafe WA Commissioner Sally North said the regulations existed to ensure that work was done safely and they should never be ignored.

“The result of the retrial is confirmation that Halifax did not comply with their obligations under the regulations, acting in a way that was contrary to safe work practices,” North said.

“This case should serve as a reminder to all employers that they are responsible for worker safety and that everyone on a work site needs to adhere to the workplace safety regulations.”