Glass Roof Collapse Kills Apprentice, Injures Two Others

A 23-year-old worker has been killed and two others were seriously injured after a glass roof collapsed at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. According to 9 News, Jonnie Hartshorn, an apprentice, was sealing panels on the glass ceiling between university buildings when it collapsed suddenly.

WA police commander Mike Bell confirmed to the news station that Hartshorn was on the fifth-floor roof while the other two men were on a scaffold structure when the collapse occurred. The Guardian reports that Hartshorn fell approximately 65 feet to the ground.

The cause of the collapse has not yet been determined. However, CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan told The Guardian he had been made aware after the incident that there had been issues with “deflection in the structural steel.”

“Those issues were addressed by structural engineers … [but] I understand that there were some concerns,” he said.

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1 Response to Glass Roof Collapse Kills Apprentice, Injures Two Others

  1. Australia has minimum lamination and span capacity requirements for glass skylights and assumes that glass skylights should be designed as trafficable. This looks very much like a support system failure and is not a glass failure per se.

    We recommend designing all skylights, especially large skylights with more than one piece of glass, to be trafficable with redundancy and retention of the glass in the event of breakage. This protects both workers on top of the glass and anyone underneath it.

    Tragedies such as this are avoidable with good design of the glass and the support systems and we should continue to design and build good skylights.

    Our condolences to the families and the injured.

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