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UnionsACT calls for safety review of MBA apprenticeship programs

UnionsACT today has called on the ACT Government to conduct a thorough safety review into the Master Builders Association apprenticeship programs, following reports of a serious accident today.

Work Safety ACT today was called to an incident this afternoon involving a first year apprentice on a residential building site in Denman Prospect. The apprentice was employed through an MBA apprenticeship program, and partially severed two fingers and his thumb with a power saw.

This is yet another serious incident involving apprentices employed by the Master Builders Association, including one in October involving a school student who was seriously injured after falling from a height while unsupervised.

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

“UnionsACT is calling on the ACT Government to conduct a thorough and urgent review of the safety of MBA apprenticeship programs.

“The MBA receives over $800,000 per year in public funding from its training programs, including apprenticeship programs.

“We cannot afford safety backsliding when it comes to workplace safety.

“These serious injuries involving children and young people are a wake-up call to those at the MBA who call safety concerns raised by unions a “myth” and are still in denial about the extent and significance of the safety problems the sector faces.

“There have been serious concerns expressed by many in the construction industry of a widespread culture of disregard for safety.

“Our thoughts are with the injured apprentice, and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

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