Calls for Better Construction Safety after Sydney Scaffolding Death


There’s been renewed calls for better construction safety following a fatality on a Sydney construction site when a 15 metre scaffolding tower gave way, dropping a pile of steel onto an 18 year old apprentice.

The young man Christopher Cassaniti died at the MacQuarie Park construction site just months after a SafeWork NSW crackdown concluded.

During the year-long crackdown, the watchdog issued over 100 notices for breaches of scaffolding safety rules after visiting more than 1000 sites.

This incident has prompted renewed calls for an inquiry into scaffolding safety with the state government saying it would take action if an investigation found more could be done to keep workers safe.


Labourer Takes Construction Company to Court over Scaffolding Incident


The scaffolding company at the centre of a scaffolding collapse at Macquarie Park that claimed the life of a worker is also being sued over another incident which involved scaffolding that fell and struck a worker on the north shore a few years ago.

Last month apprentice formworker Christopher Cassaniti died when scaffolding collapsed and he was crushed in the rubble. A 39 year old co-worker was injured in the incident but the young apprentice was not so lucky, he died shortly after the incident, he was just a teenager.

The company is being sued by a labourer over an incident in October 2012 when the man was allegedly injured. The company is denying the allegations.

Scaffolding safety has become a major concern over the past few years and WorkSafe has investigated a slew of collapses.


Industry Calls for Safety Review After Sydney Scaffolding Death

The construction industry has called for a safety review after the scaffolding death of 18 year old Christopher Cassaniti who was crushed when a 15m high scaffolding collapsed.

The tragedy prompted urgent calls for a safety review of the industry.

According to SafeWork Australia statistics, five construction workers have been killed on the job since the start of 2019.

The family of Christopher Cassaniti has been open about their calls for government to step in to address safety in the industry.

As the Cassaniti family await the results of an investigation into what happened to their son, they say crucial safety checks and procedures must be at the centre of every construction site.

CFMEU construction and general, national secretary Dave Noonan described the incident as a “catastrophic failure of a scaffolding” and said the union would be following the investigations,

“The union has arranged counsellors,” he told ABC News. “Unfortunately [they] get called to these matters all too often.

“This tragedy, in particular, is causing a lot of trauma and grief right across Australia.


SafeWork NSW is investigating the incident. It had issued a Prohibition notice to the construction company, preventing access to work on the ground floor and basement levels of the site, Executive Director Tony Williams explained,

“The outcomes of this investigation are expected to take some time to gather meaningful and constructive results,” Executive Director Tony Williams said.

“SafeWork will examine a range of factors including the qualifications of relevant workers, environmental conditions, the load carried by the scaffolding, as well as the design, construction, and maintenance of scaffolding.”


Sites across the state have now been targeted in a blitz by inspectors who are trying to ensure businesses understand the safety requirements involved in creating a safe work environment for workers using scaffolding and working from a height. The blitz “Operation Scaf Safe’ is expected to run until September 2019. Penalties of up to $3600 may apply for exposing workers to risk of falls, or for carrying out scaffold work without the necessary licence.

In a safety alert from September 2018, SafeWork NSW gave a number of measures to ensure scaffolding operations are safely undertaken.

  • Ensure the scaffold remains stable and supports the loadings imposed at all times.

  • Use a scaffold that is suitable for the tasks and construction process.

  • Ensure the scaffold can withstand any anticipated loads or forces – eg strong winds.

  • Ensure the scaffold is adequately tied to its supporting structure, in accordance with instructions from a competent person – if this is not possible, consult with the scaffold designer, manufacturer, supplier or an engineer.

Read all the advice from SafeWork NSW at:

Melbourne Companies fined for Unsafe Scaffolding

Two Melbourne companies have been fined $62,000 in total for unsafe scaffolding at a work site at Bentleigh East, after an investigation revealed scaffolding at the site leaning towards overhead power-lines during wind gusts in October 2016.

The company was found guilty of 3 charges, 2 of failing to provide and maintain a safe workplace and 1 of failing to ensure people other than employees were not exposed to risks posed by scaffolding at the site.

The company was fined $45,000 and ordered to pay $4699 and a separate construction company was fined $17,000 and ordered to pay costs of $4089.

Find out more

Ballarat Construction Firm Fined $25,000 for Scaffolding Failures

A construction company based in Ballarat has been fined $25,000 for failing to heed WorkSafe directions to repair unsafe scaffolding at a Mount Clear Worksite. The company was also ordered to pay $2897 in costs.

The company was found guilty for 2 offences relating to failure to provide a safe workplace and failure to comply with a prohibition notice.

In May an inspector noticed incomplete scaffolding on site, missing planks and gaps in the handrails and issued a prohibition notice in May 2016. The scaffolding issues were not addressed and when an inspector returned, he found a person working from the same problematic scaffolding. See more at

WorkSafe WA Focus On Scaffold Safety

Photo source: Pixabay

Inspectors from WorkSafe WA will be visiting sites in the state to ensure employers and employees, particularly in the construction industry, are committed to work from height safety especially where scaffolding is involved.

Over the next 8 months inspectors will be visiting sites in Perth and regional areas focusing on slips and trips, falls from height and manual tasks.

WorkSafe inspectors last looked into scaffolding safety in 2009/2010 and will now examine whether improvements made during the last inspection program are continuing.

Inspectors will be focusing on scaffolding issues such as sole boards and base plates, ties, platforms, temporary ladders and the risks involved with  mobile scaffolding. They will also be paying close attention to the supply and hire of scaffolding. Inspectors will be using a checklist to ensure consistency.

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Worker Injured in Scaffolding Fall on Construction Site


A young worker fell more than 4 metres from scaffolding at a Melbourne construction site and had to be rescued.

The authorities said the man, in his thirties fell from scaffolding and suffered head and spinal injuries and had to winched to safety by emergency crews.

The incident happened on St Georges Road in Fitzroy North around 9:30am.

The man was rushed to hospital.  Source:

WorkSafe Investigates North Melbourne Scaffolding Collapse

 Anyone engaging in demolition work should be in possession of a valid White Card, this proves that they have completed the White Card Course and know how to work safely in the construction industry.
A recent incident in North Melbourne is a reminder of why general construction safety training is mandatory throughout Australia.
Three levels of scaffolding fell from a building being demolished on Monday morning.
While no injuries were reported, the incident could have proven fatal, not just for those involved in the demolition work, but members of the public as well. WorkSafe is investigating the cause.

Scaffolding Incident Lands Worker in Hospital

A workplace accident has left a man with serious injuries, after falling more than 5 metres from a scaffolding.

The man was at a worksite in northeast Victoria when the incident occurred, approximately 28km south of Wodonga.

Around 8:45am the man in his fifties was conducting electrical work on a shed when the scaffolding supporting him tipped over, causing him to fall to the ground. He suffered serious injuries and was rushed to Albury Hospital for treatment.

The incident is under investigation.


Chinese Construction Disaster – Death Toll Rises

Chinese authorities have detained 13 people over the collapse which claimed 74 lives recently.

Most of the workers killed where working on the interior concrete wall of a massive circular cooling tower, about 70 metres high when scaffolding fell.

In 2012, another incident occurred, involving the same firm. The incident involved seven Yineng builders in a cooling tower in Yunnan province who tumbled to their deaths after scaffolding collapsed.

Three years prior 2 workers died after a vehicle accidentally backed into a scaffolding support beam at a Yineng-built cooling tower in Guangdong province.

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