AUSTRALIA: Three construction fatalities in four days

BWI’s Australian partner union the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is calling on the Turnbull Government to take health and safety for construction workers more seriously after three fatalities have shaken the industry. 

The first two fatalities occurred in Brisbane when a nine-ton concrete panel that had been unsafely erected fell on them, crushing them instantly as their workmates looked on. The third death occurred in Perth a few days later when a 27-year-old German tourist on a working holiday visa fell 13 floors to her death, while standing on a bucket and applying silicone to the joints of a precast panel. 

“Where is the government in all of this?” asked CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan in an online op-ed.  Taking aim at the “mantra of ‘light touch’ regulation”, Noonan argues that the ‘tick and flick’ accreditation scheme that has been established through the Federal Safety Commission (established as part of the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission) has had little to no impact on safety in the construction industry whatsoever. 

“The Turnbull government allows property barons to employ a large number of people on a raft of visas that ultimately cost them less than skilled and experienced local workers. They allow them to cut corners on safety as they take advantage of these workers’ inexperience. They gift them laws so they can put a stop to any obstructive union official who wants to insist on the enforcement of safety laws,” continues Noonan, “All of this means less safety for workers.”