UC Hospital Fatality Charges Show Employers and CEOs Must Take Responsibility for Safety

Joint media release with CFMEU ACT Branch.

The charges laid today by WorkSafe ACT over the 2016 UC Hospital fatality show that CEOs and construction industry employers cannot get away with disregarding safety.

The ACT is the least safe jurisdiction in Australia for construction workers, with an average of 42 construction workers injured every month. There were more than 600 serious injuries in the Canberra construction sector in 2016, the year of the fatality.

The following quotes are attributable to Jason O’Mara, secretary of CFMEU ACT:

“The union cannot comment on the specific case before the Courts.

“No construction worker chooses to work in an unsafe environment.

“Construction workers are forced to work unsafely through economic fear over losing their jobs, and the failure of employers to provide a safe environment.

“When construction companies cut corners to save time and money, construction workers pay with their lives and livelihoods.

“It is an ongoing tragedy that construction workers are often put in a no-win situation of being either forced to work unsafely, or speak up and lose their job.

“This is why we need strong unions, and laws that allow us to access work sites and ensure that workers’ safety is being taken seriously.”

The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:

“The ACT is the least safe place in Australia for construction workers.

“After years of pushing Work Safe, it is positive that they are finally taking a stronger line in prosecuting safety law violations.

“Ultimately employers are responsible for providing a safe workplace for their employees.

“UnionsACT welcomes the charges laid today against Multiplex and RAR Cranes, and the CEOs of those companies.