UnionsACT is deeply concerned that statements made today by the ACT Master Builders Association heralds a return to an attitude of reckless disregard for safety by the industry.

The ACT construction industry is the least safe in Australia. The ACT construction sector needs industry leadership that genuinely accepts that there is a problem of safety.

The 2013 Getting Home Safely Report identified a “culture of complacency” towards workplace safety as the principle contributor to workplace injuries and fatalities in the ACT.

In 2013, the community and the ACT Government made it clear that it is not acceptable “for people in the construction industry to say there are safety issues in construction sites and then do nothing about them.”

There have been two serious injuries at ACT construction sites in two weeks, and a fatality earlier this year. Mr Coningham from the Master Builders blames wet weather, sites being behind and “pressure to get things done before the Christmas break.”

Working people and the community will not accept excuses when it comes to workplace safety.

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

“There are no excuses for unsafe working practices in the ACT construction industry. None. We are talking about people, with lives and families. They are not statistics.

“UnionsACT has sought to work cooperatively to improve workplace safety with the Master Builders Association in recent times.

“Mr Coningham’s statements excusing unsafe work practices indicate a failure of the leadership necessary to promote a culture of safety in the construction sector.

“UnionsACT will have discussions with safety and industry stakeholders about the recent serious workplace injuries and fatality.”