Crane designer fined for 2013 accident

In a legal first a West Australian crane designer has been fined $16,000 in relation to a 2013 crane accident at Karara.

Entschmann Engineering owner Wally Entschmann pleaded guilty to breaches of the Mines and Safety Inspection Regulations after a dropped load incident, the West Australian reported.

A design modification which had reduced the thickness and weight of boom support plates an 80 tonne crane resulted in an accident during crane testing to 110 per cent capacity.

A load weighing 85 tonnes was dropped approximately five stories to the ground when the boom folded in half.

Perth Magistrates court heard the design modification rendered the crane unsafe to insufficient capacity per the manufacturer’s specification of 80 tonnes capacity.

Defense lawyer Adam Sharpe said the crane manufacturer and external verifier were also obligated to ensure the safety of the crane, however Entschmann accepted responsibility for the failure.

The company was also charged $5000 in court costs.

DMP director of mines safety Andrew Chaplyn said the safety in design was one of the major areas of concern identified by the department.

“We hope this sends a strong message to designers working across the mining industry, but in particular in Western Australia, that negligent or inferior services will be not be accepted,” he said.

Last week a crane tipped over during testing at the Roy Hill mine, and is currently under investigation by the DMP.

Australian Mining understands the crane operator was instructed by an inspector to override the crane’s computer while lowering the boom for inspection, causing the boom to tip forwards onto the ground.

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