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Date PostedMay 1, 2013

CFMEU Concerned about Safety Issues at Dangerous Worksite

According to an article on the website www.SafetyCulture.com.au the CFMEU is concerned about the safety on a site in Sydney where a young worker recently lost his life.

The union apparently raised concerns over safety on the site just 2 weeks before the young worker died.

The incident which claimed the life of the young Canadian worker happened on Saturday last week when metal beams hit into the worker, causing him to sustain fatal head and chest injuries.

WorkCover is currently investigating the incident after the CFMEU condemned the site for not being up to scratch when it comes to safety.

According to a WorkCover spokeswoman, two inspectors were sent to the site, and an investigation has begun to determine whether there was any breach of safety regulations leading to the workers death.

Just 2 weeks prior to the tragedy concerns were raised about the site and about the demolition processes on the job.  Work on the site ground to a halt after workers expressed concern that slabs were unstable during the demolition work however their concerns were ignored. Instead of bringing in experts such as engineers to sign off to say that the structure that was holding up these slabs was secure, the company ignored the warnings which ultimately culminated in the death of a young man.

Read what the article on SafetyCulture.com.au had to say about the incident:

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) said work had stopped on the site where a 22-year-old man was killed on Saturday.

The Canadian backpacker suffered head and chest injuries after being hit by a number of metal beams during the demolition of a building in Australia Street in Camperdown.

CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker said union organiser Tony Sloane had stopped work on the site around Easter after concerns were raised about how the demolition work was being carried out.

“While the full circumstances of the death are still not known, we fear there have been shortcuts taken to demolish the building faster,” Mr Parker said.

“If that is the case and this young Canadian has lost his life to help boost some builder’s bottom line then it just magnifies the tragedy.

“What was meant to be the trip of a lifetime has instead cost this young man his life.

“We will do all we can to ensure the truth of what happened today is exposed.”

Source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/man-dies-at-inner-sydney-worksite/story-fn3dxiwe-1226619731891

If this tragic story has taught us anything it is that safety cannot be ignored in the name of productivity. It seems likely a proper risk assessment process was not conducted.  This risk assessment process is covered in our White Card course, and includes explanation of the risk management matrix, the likelihood and consequence of the risk or hazard, and how to calculate the overall risk score.  

Employers need to address the safety concerns of employees because employees are the ones on the ground and exposed to these hazards each day. They are more likely to be aware of safety issues than employers are, so open communication between employers and workers is best. But it is not enough just to encourage open communication, employers need to listen to the concerns of their workers and address the issues before anyone else is killed.


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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