ACT News


Concern at series of workplace accidents

A construction worker suffered an electric shock at a worksite in Duntroon, a crane collapsed in Queanbeyan, and a Civic concrete pour was shut down on Thursday.

A 28-year-old was shocked while working at a site on General Bridges Drive just before 11.45am.

Paramedics treated and then took him to the Canberra Hospital. He was discharged that afternoon.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union says the worker was employed by a labour-hire company and was doing demolition work.

CFMEU ACT branch secretary Dean Hall said he would investigate whether the man was properly qualified for the job.

''We have concerns that a person coming through a body hire, or labour hire, company would not have the sufficient experience and qualifications to be performing such a high-risk activity,'' Mr Hall said on Thursday.


''We will be making further inquiries because it has raised concerns and it is one of the most dangerous things you can do on a construction site.''

But the Master Builders Association, which represents the construction industry, said there was no doubt the worker had undergone a comprehensive induction, and was suitable for the work.

Association industrial relations director Mike Baldwin said the company involved was well-regarded.

''He wouldn't be on the tools unless he had that experience, he just wouldn't,'' Mr Baldwin said.

''Particularly in the current environment, where [the media] are jumping at anything, the last thing we want to see is bad headlines.''

The association has also disputed claims that the worker suffered an electric shock.

WorkSafe ACT is now investigating the incident.

Meanwhile, NSW safety investigators are examining the circumstances surrounding a crane collapse in Queanbeyan on Thursday.

A crane at a construction site on Morisset Street toppled over about 11.30am.

No one was injured.

The WorkCover Authority of NSW inspected the site and believe the crane may have tipped while lifting concrete panels.

The company which owns the crane also declined to comment.

WorkSafe ACT also shut down a construction site in Civic after concerns over the safety of a concrete pour.

A government inquiry into safety in the construction sector, led by ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe, is just over a week away from being released.

The inquiry was sparked by four workplace deaths in Canberra in the past 12 months.

Mr McCabe said he was unsure whether there had been more accidents in the ACT this year than last, but he described the number of construction site incidents in 2012 as ''a lot''.

''Canberra doesn't have a good record on accidents on construction sites,'' he said.

But Mr Baldwin said each incident should be assessed individually, and employers needed to remind their employees of the risks of working in the building industry to ensure they acted in a safe manner.

''The easy take out is that the construction industry is unsafe - that's not the case,'' he said.

Mr McCabe said his staff were investigating the incident at Duntroon on Thursday.