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Crane engineer fined more than $15,000 for mine site accident

02 February, 2015

The designer of a collapsed crane which damaged a building at a WA mine site in 2013 has been fined over $15,000 by a court in WA.

Setting a legal precedent, Wally Entschmann of Entschmann Engineering was prosecuted by the Department of Mines and ordered to pay $16,000 after pleading guilty to Mines and Safety Inspection Regulations breaches.

The crane designed by his company had been required to carry loads greater than 80 tonnes, and was operating at 110 per cent capacity when it folded in half. As a result, its 85-tonne load plummeted five stories to the ground.

The Perth Magistrate's Court was told a design modification had reduced the thickness of plates which were designed to take the boom's weight, reducing the crane's operational capacity.

Defence lawyer Adam Sharpe said the crane's manufacturer and external verifier were also obligated to ensure the safe operation of the crane, but Entschmann accepted responsibility for the incident.

Entschmann Engineering was also required to pay $5000 in court costs.

Department of Mines and Petroleum Director of Mines Safety and State Mining Engineer, Andrew Chaplyn said the outcome of the case should serve as a warning to other mining engineers about negligence.

"Safety in design is one of the major areas of concern identified by the department," he said.

"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."

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