An 800-strong rally at a new Perth children’s hospital site could have been avoided if the building contractor had revealed the results of a safety test, the construction union says.
Workers at the Nedlands site downed tools on Friday after the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union claimed contractor John Holland reneged on a verbal agreement to obtain an independent engineer’s report into a near-fatal crane accident last Tuesday.
The accident was caused by a fitting failure on a tower crane that brought down a two-tonne block and 50m of rope that narrowly missed workers.
The CFMEU said John Holland had agreed to share safety information relating to the crane and another on site, but failed to deliver, leading to the strike.
Fair Work Australia stepped in and ordered an end to industrial action until the issue was resolved.
It also ordered an independent engineer’s report into the accident, which the union today said it had asked for prior to its action.
The union said John Holland had done its own test of the crane on Thursday but failed to share the information.
“If they had stuck to their verbal agreement, none of this (action) would need to have happened,” the CFMEU said in a statement.“Instead, they knowingly had information in relation to safety tests on the crane and withheld it.”
John Holland group managing director Glenn Palin also issued a statement today, saying the accident “occurred within a designated safety exclusion zone”.
“The incident which caused the dispute was immediately reported to the relevant workplace safety authorities and we continue to fully co-operate with authorities in their ongoing investigations,“ Mr Palin said.
“The site has been cleared as safe for work to continue.“We will continue to take the necessary action to prevent unlawful industrial action.”
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