ETU raises safety concerns over Sydney Metro project
The Electrical Trades Union has called for an urgent investigation into the Sydney Metro project, after an escalator collapsed and a labourer was seriously injured in two separate incidents at the Martin Place and Pitt Street construction sites.
On Tuesday, 21 June, an escalator — being built to eventually carry thousands of passengers — collapsed at Martin Place, falling four floors and through a wall, narrowly missing nearby workers. This comes after a separate incident at the Pitt Street Sydney Metro site on Thursday, 9 June, where a labourer was seriously injured while operating a hoist. The worker had been using the hoist, without being trained to do so, when the machinery failed. The labourer became stuck and climbed onto the roof of the hoist so he could jump to a nearby building. However, when he jumped, he fell through the concrete, falling nine metres before crashing to the ground. He suffered serious injuries including a broken leg and pelvis.
The subsequent ETU investigation of the site uncovered a range of serious safety issues that were reported to SafeWork NSW, but there has been no action from the regulator. ETU organiser Lawrence Duff said these are serious incidents that should never have occurred on NSW Government-funded job sites.
“The incident at Pitt St was easily preventable and it is why companies running worksites need to be checking accreditation and ensuring the safety of staff. Safety issues on site include a failure to meet standards on emergency lighting, temporary site wiring and the switchboard, the maintenance of lighting throughout the site, accessibility and storage. The company contracted by the NSW Government clearly wants to cut corners, but workers deserve better and the state’s taxpayers funding the entire operation deserve better,” said Duff.
Duff said the ETU has monitored and reported these issues for several months, with workers’ health and safety at risk. “This incident could have easily been fatal. I hope the labourer is able to make a full recovery and is able to access leave entitlements until then. The escalator collapse at Martin Place is equally concerning. It is a miracle all workers on site escaped unscathed. These incidents raise concerns over whether the Sydney Metro project is being rushed to meet the NSW Government’s deadline at the expense of worker safety,” said Duff.
Duff called on the NSW Government to order SafeWork onto the project for a thorough investigation before another worker is seriously injured or killed.
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