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WorkCover and CFMEU investigate weekend death

By Kerces - 3 July 2006 41

A 48-year-old Queanbeyan man died on Saturday morning after falling between floors on a Civic construction site.

The accident took place at 7.30 am on the Section 84 Precinct B construction site (which I think is where the old Griffin Centre was). The man was pronounced dead at the scene and a post mortem was conducted yesterday for the coroner.

The ABC reported this morning that the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union is seeking to inspect the site this morning. Police and ACT WorkCover investigations into the accident have also been launched, but the union had to lodge an application 24 hours before being able to enter the site (due to the WorkChoices legislation).

The Canberra Times also covered the accident, reporting the CFMEU has taken up a collection for the man’s family and offered trauma counselling to his colleagues. Although the man’s name has not yet been released, the CT reports he was a supervisor on the site and is survived by a wife and two children.

The union has been using this as an opportunity to push their anti-WorkChoices case, saying companies are being pressured into not allowing union safety inspection. The ABC quotes a spokesperson for the Australian Building and Construction Commission, the Federal Government’s watchdog, as saying that no such thing has ever happened.

UPDATED: Kevin Andrews is upset that the CFMEU is still being heard.

What’s Your opinion?

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41 Responses to
WorkCover and CFMEU investigate weekend death
Thumper 8:18 am 05 Jul 06

“Howard has blood on his hands”

Oh fuck off with your bleeding heart leftie mantras.

I’m against the IR laws as well but I don’t get myself bogged down in fucking stupid ideologies and statements.

aranda2614 9:56 pm 04 Jul 06

No doubt that this death is a taster for what the future may bring.

If a company like Bovis, can scrimp on safety, then it will be able to submit cheaper tenders. The lower safety standard will slowly spread.

Unions and a suitable workplace culture are the best way to prevent accidents and death.

Howard has blood on his hands because under the new laws the unions had subtle impediments to maintaining previous safety regimes.

Well perhaps not so subtle. One Bovis site manager violently assaulted one Union safety workers and specifically asserted that unoins had no right to inspect for safety.

Injuries are on the rise under Howards laws, – 3 May 2006, worker run over by a crane at Westfielf expansion in Liverpool, scaffoler seriously injured on 16 May 2006 after 8m fall, 5 Jan 2006,
Paul Highes fell to death, Energy Australia job, 5 May, Roy Salisbury incapacitated after fall at job in Campbell St Bondi, 8 March 2006, Pakenham, Christos Binos crushed to death, etc, etc

Competition creates incentive for cheap OHS. Howards laws only makes matters worse.

VYBerlinaV8 9:19 am 04 Jul 06

It’s a real shame that the unions concept has become so bastardised – the idea is great. Unfortunately the implementation leaves a lot to be desired. Many years ago I was a union delegate in my workplace, a role I held for less than a year before deciding that the union movement wasn’t for me.
Personally I think both employers and employees have pressures that the other side doesn’t understand or appreciate. However, we are fortunate to live in a country where we can train up and change jobs according to our own schedules. I think some of the raving union crazies would do well to remember that where we end up is the product of our own actions – it can’t ALL be blamed on ‘management’.

vg 10:51 pm 03 Jul 06

Correct. The Poluice union is shithouse. Hence why I have not been a member for over 10 years

Tempestas 8:45 pm 03 Jul 06

So vg I take the Police Association is something that has never dne any good either, nor the AMA nor the Bar Association. The government has it in for the union movement (who were doing a pretty good job of become less relevant all by themselves) because it sees them as the last vestige of power that stops business types doing what ever they want to whoever they want whenever they want.

If you are going to say that the relevant union has a vested interest, yes it does, it doesn’t want its members to die. Any business will always try to risk manage safety issues, if they have the capacity to shift the responsibility to to employees they will. End result safety standards will fall. For anyone to think that is a good thing is at best foolish.

I’ve no doubt some unions have behaved less than ideally, but I suspect they are much a function of their industry as anything else. What I can’t understand is why so many people bought the govt line that in the building industry the unions were evil and the building companies were saints.

A father died at his workplace, In the 21st century that should be a lot rarer than it is.

Unbeliever 5:24 pm 03 Jul 06

The unions are biased. Unions are no longer relevant. Unions are raving lunatics. Unions have vested interest!

What a load of horse shit! When will people get the fact that unions aren’t out to destroy businesses, despite the double-speak lies that work choices has been really good at putting out. Putting businesses out of the market, would have a dire effect on the unions main supporters – workers. No businesses no workers.

caf 5:22 pm 03 Jul 06

Whether vg likes it or not, the union represents the employees who are significant stakeholders in the outcome of any investigation. I’m sure the construction company and/or their insurer would also be conducting an investigation from their own angle.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Police investigation would only be looking at whether any criminal negligence or otherwise criminal act had taken place, which would be fairly unlikely.

simto 5:09 pm 03 Jul 06

Okay, I’m big enough to admit that I stuffed up here – I skipped over the main article and straight into the comments (I’d read the article a few hours ago) and forgot that it’s a Workcover investigation, not an “independant” inquiry paid for by the employers.

However (yes, I am searching for a skerrick of a point to hide behind), I still don’t quite see what anybody has to hide by denying union access to the site. But maybe that’s just me.

vg 4:57 pm 03 Jul 06

I’m sorry, but the investigations by Work Cover and the Police are not ‘on behalf’ of the employers. They are on behalf of the State, if you will.

On the other hand the unions investigations have a far more biased slant.

Ultimately a Coroners court will accept the investigation of a professional authority, other than the often ‘raving lunatic’ approach of the unions.

Put it this way, do you think a Unions investigation would determine fault for anyone but the employer? Methinks not

bonfire 4:55 pm 03 Jul 06

So in a labour state, a labour govts own investigative body is beholden to the employer ?


simto 4:44 pm 03 Jul 06

Well, the union’s investigation is on behalf of the employees. The other investigation is on behalf of the employers. So, no, the alternative isn’t neutral (unless VG truly believes that every political and journalistic investigation into the police has been neutral – which I think he’d concede is not the case).

Seems fair enough that BOTH should be able to investigate. Not one or the other.

Every union is hideous. Except for mine.

Mr Evil 4:42 pm 03 Jul 06

Problem is vg, there have been many recorded cases of extremely dodgy work practices occurring on building sites in Australia which haven’t been picked up by Workcover authorities, and have had to be brought to their attention by Unions.

Workcover can’t be everywhere at once, so in some ways it is probably good to have the unions keeping an eye on things as well.

vg 4:01 pm 03 Jul 06

The union has a vested interest in the biased results of their investigation, whereas the other one’s, who professionally investigate matters, don’t.

Dying movement

bonfire 3:21 pm 03 Jul 06

While im all for safety i just have to wonder why ‘the union’ is the arbiter of whats right and proper ?

From my reading of the CT article, there was an investigation started right away.

In reference to xmans brothers mates views, I find it difficult to believe that there is no site safety procedure at that site.

xman 2:18 pm 03 Jul 06

I was up in Brisbane a few weeks ago and had a quiet beer with my bro-in-law who is an electrician on a major building site in the CBD.

Conversation got around to the new IR laws and the effect it had on him and his workplace. He said that as far as wages were concerned there were no adverse effects yet, but that safety conditions had gone to hell.

He said there had been a couple of drops – equipment lost over the side onto the road – no real damage to person or property. In the past, the Union Safety guys would have shut down the area responsible for a half-hour or so and investigated how the drop had occurrred and move to rectify the problem. Now, post IR laws, nothing stopped, there was no investigation and the Union had no say. The only way an investigation would occur is if management approved it – and that seemed likely only in the event of injury or worse.

He was genuinely concerned that this was an aspect of the de-unionisation of the workplace that had been overlooked by most parties.

He’s a very laid-back bloke, but was really worried about where his industry was heading.

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