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Bad Safety Record for New Complex a Concern

An upscale building construction site has been the source of a number of safety issues. The Nishi building which is going to incorporate residential apartments, commercial and office blocks in Civic has been red flagged by ACT Work Safety because of numerous issues relating to falls, worker injuries and other safety concerns. Although the development advertises itself as environmentally conscious and upscale, costing around $550 million, apparently not much of that was spent on health and safety. The company responsible for the development and its safety is the Molonglo Group who have been contracted by the Ply Proprietary Limited company who received the notices from the safety regulator nine times prior to the latest incident which occurred last month. The latest incident resulted in the fall of a 21 year old worker who plunged 6.5meters down a ventilation shaft suffering serious injury. This post on The Canberratimes.com.au has more:

The accident in which the 21-year-old fell down a ventilation shaft and broke his back, five ribs and punctured a lung is now the subject of a separate investigation by WorkSafe ACTs serious investigation team that could result in legal action. The prohibition notice relating to this accident was lifted on Tuesday.

Work on the six-Green-star-rated commercial complex which includes office space for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and legal firm Clayton Utz is due to be completed before Christmas, while the residential apartments are scheduled to finish by April.

Mr McCabe said WorkSafe ACT had serious concerns about safety at the site over recent months, and had issued two prohibition notices to the subcontractor undertaking formwork.


Meanwhile, six improvement notices were issued across the Nishi site in September over issues ranging from unsafe access, electrical concerns, fork-lift operation, edge protection, formwork and one in relation to the construction companys own incident investigation procedures.

The principal contractor, Ply, which split from PBS in May, had itself reported seven notifiable incidents at the site to WorkSafe. These are necessary in the event of a worker requiring treatment at a hospital or in the case of certain near misses. These incidents included a worker breaking his arm, another rolling his ankle and a third sustaining a minor burn.

There were also notifications regarding falling objects and one for a concrete pump failure.

The failure occurred in July when the blocked pump exploded and shot aggregate chunks across the building site and down onto the streets below.

Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/nishi-has-red-flag-for-work-safety-2012111429d1r.html#ixzz2CPJeH43L

This case highlights the complexity of a large site. There are so many issues to contend with on large sites that safety often slips through the cracks. The site has been given numerous opportunities to rectify their safety issues and had received numerous visits and warnings from the regulator. Especially building sites thattake years to complete and engage a number of various sections are at a greater risk of safety breaches, which means greater attention to safety is needed. The company could face fines of up to $3 million if the director of public prosecutions chooses to pursue the issue and the company is found guilty of safety negligence. One of the biggest issues on this site seems to be the issue of fall protection. Falls from high rise building sites can be even more deadly because of their height so these risks need to be actively managed. One of the most effective safety precautions is a safety harness system. Fall protection equipment is critical to saving lives and preventing serious injuries on site. Another issue on this site is falling objects. Possible falling hazards are objects such as tools


and materials, debris and other equipment that has the potential to fall from a workstation or platform or into a trench and potentially injure a worker or passer-by. Employers and employees have a responsibility to assess the risk of objects falling and injuring workers. Controls must be used to reduce these risks. Safety controls need to be in accordance with regulation standards.


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