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“In Qld you can kill a worker and not go to jail.”

A UNION boss has called on the State Government to fast-track “industrial manslaughter” laws following three workplace falls on the Gold Coast this week. Photo: Nic McElroy.
A UNION boss has called on the State Government to fast-track “industrial manslaughter” laws following three workplace falls on the Gold Coast this week. Photo: Nic McElroy.

A UNION boss has called on the State Government to fast-track "industrial manslaughter" laws following three workplace falls on the Gold Coast this week.

"It will put a rocket up builders to make sure sites are safe for workers," said Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union Queensland assistant state secretary Andrew Sutherland about the new laws.

"In Queensland you can kill a worker and not go to jail."

A 37-year-old father remains in a critical condition following a seven-storey fall at a Varsity Lakes worksite on Monday.

Plasterer David Conway suffered serious fractures to his legs and chest on the busy worksite on Lakefront Cres.

At least two other workers were hospitalised this week following incidents at Ashmore and Ormeau.

Mr Sutherland said initial union investigations found Mr Conway fell from scaffolding on a walkway between two buildings being constructed at the Alder Constructions Varsity Lakes site.

Mr Sutherland said under current laws builders were not required to cover the walkway between two buildings with protective mesh. However, he said the walkways should be protected.

"The scaffolding was compliant as far as the code of practice goes," he said.

"In light of the accident we should look at the code of practice for scaffolding if you're going to take something good out of a bad situation.

"We're campaigning the Government to pull their finger out. If there is a threat builders will go to jail, site and project managers will put in more of a (safety) effort."

Two workers were crushed to death by a concrete slab in October last year.

At the time, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government would audit Queensland's health and safety laws.

In May, Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the government would introduce the new offence of "negligence causing death".

However, Mr Sutherland said the industry was still waiting.

"Eagle Farm happened in October of last year and the Premier made commitments and here we are nine months later."

In a statement, Alder Constructions said their Varsity Lakes worksite would remain closed until Monday.

"Our priority is the people involved and we are in regular contact with the worker's family, the

subcontractor who employs him, as well as other subcontractors engaged on the site, and (we) are doing everything we can to help them at this time," the statement read.

Topics:  industrial accidents safety workers workplace safety

News Corp Australia


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