Precast panel falling from structure
7 February 2019
On Wednesday 30 January 2019, WorkSafe ACT was called to a construction site in Braddon where a large precast concrete panel fell from the building and impacted a neighbouring property.
Thankfully no persons were injured given the panel fell approximately 15 meters through the roof of the amenities block which was regularly used by the neighbouring business.
Preliminary investigation of the circumstances leading to the incident has identified the temporary supports (braces/props) were removed from the panel prior to the completion of the installation process and structural verification of the panel.
It is imperative that a rigid system and safe work method statements are prepared and strictly followed when undertaking high risk construction work.
Workers have been previously seriously injured or killed in a concerning number of incidents involving precast concrete panels during the installation phase.
Precast concrete panels are being used in an increasing number of engineering solutions in the construction of a variety of buildings.
There are no circumstances under which the installation of concrete panels can occur without being sufficiently planned and documented in a safe work method statement. It is imperative that any safe work method statement is strictly followed and the planned process is not deviated from without appropriate planning and documented variations made to the safe work method statement.
Mitigating the risks
Only competent, suitable qualified, trained, instructed and supervised workers are to participate in the installation of precast concrete panels. All persons are to be suitably inducted into the safe work method statement and possess an intimate knowledge of the method statement relevant to the work they are undertaking prior to commencing any high risk construction work.
If you are a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) involved in the installation of precast concrete panels you must ensure:
- an appropriate safe system of work is in place;
- any system used for attaching pre-cast elements to building perimeters is to undergo a comprehensive design process by a competent professional engineer, including a signed design verification statement to relevant design standards;
- a system for verifying that the design engineer’s instructions have been followed should be provided. This will include inspection and sign-off by a competent person;
- the work is planned, including the development of an erection plan that is appropriate to the task and panel type;
- the work is monitored and supervised by a competent person who is experienced in concrete panel erection;
- a site specific safe work method statements (SWMS) is developed and followed. The methodology must minimise the risk to workers during the erection with a planned panel installation sequence that is appropriate to the individual task, is available onsite and has all workers inducted into it.
- workers are suitably trained and competent and qualified to perform the task; and
- workers performing licensed roles possess the required high risk work licence for the task they are performing.
This Alert contains information emerging during an investigation by WorkSafe ACT into the mentioned incident at the date of this report. The information contained in this report does not necessarily reflect the final outcome of WorkSafe’s views or proposed actions with respect to this incident. WorkSafe ACT does not warrant the information in this report is complete or up-to date and does not accept any liability to any person for the information in this report, or its use.
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