Alleged safety breach halts Sydney convention centre construction - 27.11.14

Work at the International Convention Centre at Darling Harbour came to a halt after more than 40 electricians refused to do non-emergency work citing a potentially fatal electrical safety breach.

According to reports, workers of the major electrical contractors Stowe Australia and Fredon opted to stop working after a meeting of the safety committee. These electrical workers on the site stated that they have no confidence in the capability of builder Lend Lease to give a safe working environment.

The decision came after an incident wherein an electrician had “locked out” a switchboard, allowing a circuit remained off while electrical work was being performed. After work was done for the day, a foreman from Lend Lease ordered another worker to use an angle grinder in order to cut off the padlock and restore power to the circuit. The next day, an unsuspecting worker was almost electrocuted after he started work on what he thought was still a de-energised circuit.

The Electrical Trade Union or ETU represented by Steve Butler stated that the incident clearly shows a breach of basic safety measures which almost resulted to the fourth fatality on a Sydney construction site in less than a couple of weeks.

Butler also added that the workers were worried that it took almost a week before the contractor reported the incident to WorkCover NSW and that the safety watchdog had reportedly said that it will not be looking into the breach. Butler said that the ETU strongly demands both Lend Lease and the safety regulator to do a thorough investigation of how vital safety practices were suspended, putting the lives of workers in peril.

(Source: OHS News).