A Canberra road construction site has been accused of being dangerous by the local building union following an incident involving a piece of heavy machinery which was knocked off alignment after hitting into a solid rock.

Although no one was injured in the incident, the union has accused the principal contractor of having a bad safety record because 2 similar incidents apparently took place last year in November and December. The union has accused the principal contractor of neglecting worker safety and says that the site is an accident waiting to happen.

The contractor, Fulton Hogan has defended its safety record, citing its 500,000 man hours worked without injury. The project is an 11,5km four-lane parkway which will link the Federal and Monaro highways. The project started a year ago and is expected to reach completion in 2016.

According to the ACT’s Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe the accident happened when a pile driving machine was being used next to a bridge joining 2 roads one morning when it hit solid rock and fell off alignment. No injuries were reported. Investigators apparently visited the site and determined that there was no danger to the workers.

The CFMEU ACT however doesn’t seem to agree and says that the use of the equipment has the potential to endanger the lives of those workers around it, even those not involved in its operation.

Dean Hall of the CFMEU said that the safety problems on the site were vast and that the principal contractor was doing all they could to “hide incidents and dangerous near misses”.

Last year vehicles on the site apparently rolled over on 2 separate occasions and a traffic controller working on the project had been struck by a car while performing her duties. Hall attributes the lack of injuries on the site thus far to pure luck. He says that sooner or later someone is going to get killed.

Hall also accused Fulton Hogan of hiding accidents from the public by surrounding it with big trucks. The company however has defended its actions saying that it is because of its safety procedures that the incident last week did not result in an injury. The firm has reaffirmed its commitment to keeping staff, customers, visitors, subcontractors, suppliers and the general public safe at all times. Of course in order to remain safe on any construction site, workers must, regardless of experience or job being undertaken, complete mandatory safety training first.

Without the mandated White Card general construction industry induction course there cannot be a safe site because workers who aren’t trained, don’t know what to expect when it comes to hazards on a construction site and therefore pose a threat to everyone on site including themselves.

To find out more about Construction Site safety and the need for the White Card, visit our homepage today!


Recommended Posts