Multiplex – Some observations

Recent charges of reckless conduct laid against Multiplex Directors, Site Managers and the Site Safety Officer in respect of a incident involving an independent contractor may have people ramping up their scrutiny of contractors and increasing the reams of paperwork required from them to demonstrate management of safety. Well STOP. This case, I suspect, will highlight exactly why we need to clearly allocate responsibility for management of safety to contractors and not meddle in their operations.  In order for recklessness to be made out a person must know of the risk and its seriousness and take the risk anyway. So what this says to me is those charged knew the crane was undersized, knew the risk was serious and went ahead and either instructed or agreed with the contractor that the work would proceed anyway. Perhaps if the contractor ha been left to undertake the work they may have decided not to use an undersized crane, or may have decided to use it anyway but at least Multiplex would have been protected. Safety may also been improved if the contractor was aware they would be held solely liable and were given the authority and accountability to conduct the work in a manner they saw fit without instruction from the principle.