Kingston apartment site shut down by WorkSafe
Norman MacLachlan, ACT construction manager for Project Coordination (black shirt) stands with his workers from the Aurora apartments when the union inspected the site last week. Photo: Colleen Petch
WorkSafe ACT has shut down a Kingston Foreshore building site where an electrical apprentice suffered an electric shock last week.
Inspectors visited the Aurora Apartments complex on Tuesday and issued its principal contractor Project Coordinaton with a prohibition notice for breaches of work safety legislation.
Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said the building manager was not adhering to current safety legislation and its systems for inducting new workers on site and ensuring safety procedures were in place were “inadequate”.
Mr McCabe said there could be further action against the company once the investigation into how the young apprentice came to be working on a live circuit last Thursday was complete.
The Commissioner said ProjectCoordination had been following safety laws that had been replaced by new legislation in January last year.
WorkSafe ACT has this morning issued a Prohibition Notice on Project Coordination preventing any further work at Aurora Apartments— WorkSafe ACT (@WorkSafeCommish) January 28, 2013
Prohibition Notice on principal contractor, Project Coordination, due to inadequate systems of work. Improvement Notices to be issued today.— WorkSafe ACT (@WorkSafeCommish) January 28, 2013
Mr McCabe said safety practices based on the old laws were "inadequate for a big company" like Project Coordination.
"Their safe work statements are currently compatible with the old legislation and not the new legislation," Mr McCabe said.
"It means there could be issues required by law that are not being addressed in those statements.
"There are also some deficiencies in their induction of workers onto the site and evidencing who has been inducted onto the site and who hasn’t.
"There is some evidence that the apprentice [who was injured last week] had not signed on and we’re looking to see if that’s true or not.
"That’s the kind of thing that can happen if you don’t have a good system in place."
Project Coordination construction manager Paul Murphy said the company would meet with Mr McCabe on Tuesday.
"We're going through the issues with Work Cover at the moment," Mr Murphy said.
Construction workers' union ACT branch secretary Dean Hall said Tuesday was a rostered day off for workers, but, should work be unable to resume on Wednesday, he hoped workers would still be paid.
"It's not the worker's fault that the site isn't up to safety standards, and workers shouldn't be penalised for failings in safety systems," he said.
Tuesday's prohibition notice comes after Mr McCabe accused the construction managers of dismissing the electric shock incident as one that could not have been prevented. Project Coordination was also issued with a prohibition notice on Friday relating to the incident, preventing work on the air conditioning unit the woman had been working on.
The CFMEU shut the site down on Friday to conduct a full safety audit, however a statement from Project Coordination on Friday afternoon said no safety breaches that "would prevent work on site" had been found.
But Mr Hall told Fairfax Media while Project Coordination did cooperate with the union's request for a safety audit, there had been "fundamental failings" in the construction site's safety systems, including poor signing-in and emergency evacuations procedures.
with Hamish Boland-Rudder