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Work stopped on the new Cotter Dam

By 2 February 2012 8

The ABC brings word of trouble at the dam as accidents prompt another very expensive shut down:

More than 20 serious safety issues have been reported since work began on the Cotter Dam enlargement project.

In the past week there has been another two incidents, prompting WorkSafe ACT to issue a 13th prohibition notice.

A worker drilling near a crane accidentally severed its cable while the power was on.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe says the worker is lucky to be alive.

“A large electrical cable as thick as my arm and the cable was live at the time.

“WorkSafe is investigating that matter. It’s a very serious matter, it could have led to a fatality.

“I’ve asked the investigators to advise me whether there’s been a breach of the Work Health and Safety law that should be referred to the DPP.

In the other incident, a bolt came off a lower section of a crane, compromising its entire structure.

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8 Responses to
Work stopped on the new Cotter Dam
dpm 2:14 pm
02 Feb 12
#1

Is it just me, or aren’t most of these problems caused by the workers themselves, not knowing what they are doing? The way the picture is painted by Worksafe ACT is that workers are at danger from some rogue phantom at the site!
I mean really, whose fault is it when someone drills into a large power cable – live or not?!? Surely the worker needs a ‘talking to’….. Or did mgt hold a gun to his head and tell him to drill into the cable? Is there some level of personal responsibility or skill needed to do some of these jobs? Just wondering…..
Perhaps the need the stop work time so Worksafe ACT can run a seminar for workers on NOT drilling into power cables! :-)

qbngeek 2:22 pm
02 Feb 12
#2

dpm said :

Is it just me, or aren’t most of these problems caused by the workers themselves, not knowing what they are doing? The way the picture is painted by Worksafe ACT is that workers are at danger from some rogue phantom at the site!
I mean really, whose fault is it when someone drills into a large power cable – live or not?!? Surely the worker needs a ‘talking to’….. Or did mgt hold a gun to his head and tell him to drill into the cable? Is there some level of personal responsibility or skill needed to do some of these jobs? Just wondering…..
Perhaps the need the stop work time so Worksafe ACT can run a seminar for workers on NOT drilling into power cables! :-)

But it is called Workers Compensation because the worker is never at fault. If ou walk in front of a bus on your way home it is still a Workers Compensation claim under the journey provisions.

Everything is the fault of the employer, workers are never to blame because there are no idiot clauses in the legislation.

caf 2:44 pm
02 Feb 12
#3

dpm said :

Is it just me, or aren’t most of these problems caused by the workers themselves, not knowing what they are doing? The way the picture is painted by Worksafe ACT is that workers are at danger from some rogue phantom at the site!
I mean really, whose fault is it when someone drills into a large power cable – live or not?!? Surely the worker needs a ‘talking to’….. Or did mgt hold a gun to his head and tell him to drill into the cable? Is there some level of personal responsibility or skill needed to do some of these jobs? Just wondering…..
Perhaps the need the stop work time so Worksafe ACT can run a seminar for workers on NOT drilling into power cables! :-)

The workers work at the direction of the employer, so they are simply not in a position to enforce safe work practices – the employer is.

For example, in this case consider that the electrical cable was likely buried with its location not properly marked. Is the worker who buried the cable really in a position to say “No, I won’t do the next task you’ve given me – I have to stop and mark the location of this cable first, even though you didn’t direct me to.”? No, it’s the employer who’s ultimately responsible for what goes on at the site.

winter 2:56 pm
02 Feb 12
#4

qbngeek said :

dpm said :

Is it just me, or aren’t most of these problems caused by the workers themselves, not knowing what they are doing? The way the picture is painted by Worksafe ACT is that workers are at danger from some rogue phantom at the site!
I mean really, whose fault is it when someone drills into a large power cable – live or not?!? Surely the worker needs a ‘talking to’….. Or did mgt hold a gun to his head and tell him to drill into the cable? Is there some level of personal responsibility or skill needed to do some of these jobs? Just wondering…..
Perhaps the need the stop work time so Worksafe ACT can run a seminar for workers on NOT drilling into power cables! :-)

But it is called Workers Compensation because the worker is never at fault. If ou walk in front of a bus on your way home it is still a Workers Compensation claim under the journey provisions.

Everything is the fault of the employer, workers are never to blame because there are no idiot clauses in the legislation.

Actually workers compensation is awards regardless of whether the employee, employer, or no-one is at fault.

Also many people in Canberra aren’t covered by workers compensation during travel to and from work.

Henry82 3:02 pm
02 Feb 12
#5

dpm said :

Is it just me, or aren’t most of these problems caused by the workers themselves, not knowing what they are doing?

Its very very rare that worksite accidents are not a result of human error.

creative_canberran 4:09 pm
02 Feb 12
#6

I think people would do well to take a look at this: http://www.actew.com.au/uniflip/index.html and some of the other historical stuff about the building of the original Cotter Dam. If everyone freaks out about workplace accidents today, it really puts things in perspective knowing how much better it is now.

In particular, page 78 which reveals why Geologists drilling into the dam in the 1950s found a mysterious empty chamber: a horse had died, fallen into the wet concrete and was left there.

Also for all the problems this project has, it’s a safe bet they aren’t stretching the concrete with sand to save on costs and haven’t forgotten to put in strengthening under the dam, something they forgot on the original which was totally smooth underneath and in “very poor condition.”

wildturkeycanoe 4:43 pm
05 Feb 12
#7

creative_canberran said :

In particular, page 78 which reveals why Geologists drilling into the dam in the 1950s found a mysterious empty chamber: a horse had died, fallen into the wet concrete and was left there.

That horse was the only contender that could have taken on Phar Lap. Pity the underworld decided to rig the race and hide this thoroughbred before his glory moment. If only forensics could identify this horse and prove foul play? Yes, I watch too much television….

p1 6:36 pm
05 Feb 12
#8

caf said :

The workers work at the direction of the employer, so they are simply not in a position to enforce safe work practices – the employer is.

For example, in this case consider that the electrical cable was likely buried with its location not properly marked. Is the worker who buried the cable really in a position to say “No, I won’t do the next task you’ve given me – I have to stop and mark the location of this cable first, even though you didn’t direct me to.”? No, it’s the employer who’s ultimately responsible for what goes on at the site.

What you say is completely at odds with all the eduction the various organizations involved in work safety teach. EVERYBODY is responsible for safety. The board of the company should ensure there are safety policies in place. The manager on the site should tell the worker to mark the cable. The worker should ensure that the cable is marked (regardless of what he is told).

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