Construction workers at Kawana hospital site walk off job due to safety concerns


Photo: SafetyCulture Library

More than a thousand construction workers walked off the job at a hospital site in Kawana due to safety concerns.

The workers have stopped work on Friday because of their growing frustration from unaddressed safety concerns at the construction site of the $1.8 billion Sunshine Coast University Public Hospital, which is to open soon.

According to an ABC report, an incident last week where a water truck reversed into a set of water barriers which had been protecting workers prompted the construction workers’ decision to walk off the job.

“If someone had have actually been walking in between those water barriers, which was the designated walkway, they would have been crushed,” ABC quoted Electrical Trade Union’s Dan Bessell as saying.

He said the workers walked off the job to express their frustration on the unaddressed safety issues on the site.

An unnamed construction worker expressed dismay for the lack of response to their safety concerns from the construction company leading the project.

“Things falling off the top of the buildings and landing on major walkways onto the job,” the worker said.

“Luckily it was covered and no-one was hurt, but obviously if that covered walkway wasn’t there someone seriously could have got injured.”

An electrical contractor told ABC morale was very low at the hospital site.

“I’ve worked in the trade for at least 40 years and I’ve never been on a job site in my life that I’ve experienced such a low morale,” he said.

“It creates disunity, mainly because people are fearful of losing their job.”

The construction company, through a spokesperson said they’ve set rigorous safety measures.

“Where matters raised are found to be genuinely about safety, we work with all parties including our client, unions, regulators and workers to resolve those issues,” the spokesperson defended.

“Any incidents are reported and undergo thorough investigation of the root cause, underlying factors and corrective actions, to facilitate improvements across the site and on other projects,” he said.

The Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service did not comment on the issue.

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