01:31 pm, Monday 2 August, 2010
No evidence of systematic problems has been found with the design of covered outdoor learning areas (COLA), the Education Department says.
The statement has been released following a building collapse at a public school in Kooringal on Tuesday.
Initial inquiries indicate the steel frame of the COLA became unstable during construction before crashing. No one was injured, although work has been stopped until investigations at the construction site have been concluded.
Michael Coutts-Trotter, the department’s director-general, said the building program NSW public schools has an outstanding safety record.
“At this stage, there’s nothing to suggest that there is some systemic problem with this design of COLA, this constructor, nothing of that nature, but we do wait on the interim report from WorkCover,” he said.
“We’ll be talking with the contractor and their subcontractors to see if there’s anything that needs to be learned from this to change or improve practice in any other school or departmental building site, we’re absolutely serious about that.”
WorkCover said an investigation is being conducted into the construction collapse.
The authority’s John Watson said the school building program has a good safety record to date.
“Well given the size of the program, I’ve got to say that we have been very pleased with the occupational health and safety outcomes that we are experiencing,” he said.
“So I think it is definitely to the preparation work that was done in ensuring that front of mind was indeed not only the safety of the school community but the safety of workers.
“We’ll do a very thorough report. We’ll examine indeed whether first of all what are the factual matters associated with the collapse, but then has legislation been breached in any way?”