06:28 pm, Wednesday 1 September, 2010
Adelaide’s desalination plant is under scrutiny following three deaths linked to the site.
Reports have recently revealed a worker who “drowned in diesel” while another who died in a vehicle accident.
On February 15, a 31-year-old man died after inhaling diesel accidentally while trying to siphon fuel at a work site associated with the plant.
Another death on 12 December 2009 – this time involving a 59-year-old truck driver – has been revealed. He was killed in a crash on Lonsdale Highway. It was classified as a road fatality, although workers at the site considered it a workplace incident because he was transporting material for the plant.
SafeWork SA investigated the fatality and ruled the death was not a workplace incident.
The $1.8 billion desalination plant project is under the spotlight with its December 2010 deadline to finish the construction closing in.
According to Water Minister Paul Caica, the project has suffered delays due to the July 16 fatality. He said the incident had caused the work pace to slow down.
SafeWork SA said the February 15 fatality occurred “outside work hours” and was not a “work related activity”.
“Following a thorough investigation, SafeWork SA determined that the fatal injury did not occur as a result of a work activity and that the employer had relevant procedures and systems in place,” A SafeWork SA statement said.