Westgate Bridge Disaster

Many construction disasters throughout history could have been avoided. Working with earth moving equipment, heavy machinery or mining equipment presents many dangers to all involved on a daily basis. Current occupational health and safety regulations are in place to prevent accidents occurring, and have proven a valuable tool in ensuring that both employees are safe, and that the project is sturdy and built to last.

Westgate Bridge Disaster

By Thad Roan from Littleton, CO, USA, – West Gate Bridge, Melbourne, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Many Australian OH&S laws came into effect after the Westgate Bridge disaster in Melbourne on October 15, 1970. The bridge was half built, when a 120m section of the bridge fell 50m into the Yarra River. 35 lives were lost that day, with countless others receiving permanent injury. The collapse of the bridge occurred because of poor design and the contractors ignoring the safety concerns of the labourers, dismissing their fears as mere gossip.

Had a full check of the bridge’s designer been undertaken, it would have found that other projects that had been undertaken from the designer’s plans had collapsed in other parts of the world. If the safety concerns of the employees been taken seriously, the 35 men killed may not have lost their lives.

Construction and mining: the most dangerous jobs in Australia

The Beaconsfield Gold Mine

By Original uploader was Kyle sb at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

The Westgate Bridge disaster was avoidable, however not all accidents at work can be prevented. On April 25, 2006 in northern Tasmania, a small earthquake triggered the collapse of the Beaconsfield Gold Mine. Three men were unaccounted for, and rescue efforts undertaken. The body of one of the men was found the day after the collapse. Five days later, rescue crews were able to communicate with the other two men that had become trapped in the mine. Due to the fear of another collapse, the men were trapped for a further 9 days while rescue crews worked around the clock looking at the safest ways to get the two men free from the mine.

Mining and construction industries

In Australia, most workplace deaths are attributed to the mining and construction industries, and range in type from vehicle collisions, heavy machinery accidents, contact with electricity and falling from heights. In 2015, 38 people were killed at work in the construction and mining industries.

Resolute Equipment is concerned about the safety of your employees. Talk to us today about our range of safety equipment and fittings for your heavy machinery and mining equipment.