$250K fine for blowout

Two related Victorian companies have penalised over dangerous concrete practices on the Melbourne Metro Rail project.

Adcon Resources provided labour and concrete formwork plant to Adcon Vic, which was contracted to provide formwork and concrete pour works for the construction of Parkville Station in Carlton, according to WorkSafe Victoria.

Workers had cast a series of high tensile Z ties, similar to concrete reinforcing bars, into the floor of the underground chamber to support the base of formwork for a single-sided wall. During the July 2021 concrete pour, part of the formwork failed, resulting in uncontrolled movement of the formwork and release of concrete. The workers stopped the pour and found that one of the ties had sheared off.

Without engineering oversight, they then removed the tie and bridged the gap with a steel beam. After the concrete pour was recommenced there was a series of cumulative tie failures. This resulted in a blowout of about 15 cubic metres of concrete as workers were evacuated.

Narelle Beer, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety said: “A blowout of 15 cubic metres of concrete on a major construction site is incredibly dangerous, creating significant risk to workers and anyone else in the vicinity.”

A WorkSafe investigation found the Z ties had been welded to the base reinforcing steel instead of secured with tie holders and the technical specifications for the ties advised they could not be welded due to their chemical composition.

Ms Beer said both companies had failed to put in place procedures to ensure a safe workplace and the court handed down fines totalling $250,000.

“Fortunately, in this case, no one was killed or injured – but it’s not enough to rely on good luck, employers and those with management or control of a workplace must do everything they can to identify hazards and eliminate or reduce the risks.”

Image: Parkville Station under construction. Source: Victoria BigBuild.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.