SafeWork inspectors attended a Macquarie Park worksite on Monday, 1 April 2019, after receiving reports that two workers had become trapped under scaffolding. Tragically, an 18-year-old worker has passed away and another 40-year-old man was air-lifted to hospital, in a serious condition.
Secretary for the Department of Finance, Service and Innovation and SafeWork regulator, Martin Hoffman, has offered his sincere condolences to both of the families that have been so tragically impacted by the events.
“My thoughts and sympathies are with the family of the young worker whose life has been taken far too soon and to the family of the gentleman now in a critical condition.
“I want to reassure the families of the fatally and seriously injured workers, that SafeWork NSW will undertake a thorough investigation in to this catastrophic safety failure,” Mr Hoffman said.
The tradesmen had been working from the bottom level of scaffolding when the structure suddenly collapsed. Another two workers were laying bricks at the top of the structure and jumped to safety. It is not yet known what caused the scaffolding to collapse, however SafeWork will employ significant resources to fully understand how the tragedy occurred.
Last year SafeWork NSW undertook a twelve-month safety blitz on over 1,000 construction sites state-wide, issuing $265,000 worth of on-the-spot fines. Businesses were fined in instances where workers lives were placed at risk when working at heights, including working from deficient or unstable scaffolds.
“SafeWork Inspectors observed wide-spread non-compliance with scaffold safety last year and will continue to focus on scaffolding throughout 2019 under a new compliance program, Operation Scaff Safe,” Mr Hoffman said.
Under Operation Scaff Safe, which commenced on Monday, SafeWork Inspectors will visit sites across NSW to ensure that businesses understand the safety requirements involved in creating a safe environment for workers using scaffolding and working from a height.
Mr Hoffman said SafeWork’s priority is workers returning home safely when they leave for work that day and believes better compliance and education around scaffolding will help to ensure that.