Police investigate death at Denman Prospect worksite

Concerns have been raised about the culture of residential workplace safety in the ACT after the death of a man at a construction site in Denman Prospect.

About 10.10am on Tuesday police were alerted to reports of a man who had fallen from a residential building being constructed on Temple Terrace. ACT Ambulance Service paramedics attended but the 60-year-old man died at the scene.

Neighbours said that it appeared the man had fallen from the second floor roof level of the partly constructed home onto the concrete below and struck his head. They said that CPR was administered but he was unable to be revived.

The building is located on a steep slope, with the exterior fully framed but not all the roof trusses yet in place.

ACT Policing’s Criminal Investigation Team is conducting a joint investigation with WorkSafe ACT and will prepare a report for the Coroner. It is the second death at a residential work site in Denman Prospect this year.

WorkSafe ACT investigators were at the Molonglo Valley site until late in the day, and staff were ensuring support was in place for colleagues of the worker and witnesses. The ACT Minister for Workplace Safety Suzanne Orr expressed her condolences.

“Any worksite death is unacceptable and it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure all workers return home safe at the end of the day,” she said in a statement. “It is seriously concerning that this incident follows public safety messaging and targeted Worksafe ACT enforcement activity in the residential construction sector. The government will closely monitor the outcomes of Worksafe ACT’s investigations into these incidents and we will continue to support compliance activity across the construction industry, to ensure the work health and safety obligations of everyone on worksites are being met.”

Last month a 47-year-old man died at an under-construction townhouse complex in Denman Prospect. The man, who was believed to be unloading material off a truck when the incident happened, died at the scene on January 11. ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said that this tragedy comes three weeks after a concentrated blitz by his officers on residential workplaces.

“To say I’m disappointed in the lack of a safety culture in the ACT residential building sector is a gross understatement,” Mr Jones said. “Just three weeks ago we issued 70 notices at residential sites and now we have another fatality. The message clearly isn’t getting through.”

He said that his officers would now redouble their efforts and focus on the busy areas of new residential development. “What we want builders to know is if they don’t have the right safety systems and processes in place, we will fine you and we will shut you down,” he said.

Source: The Canberra Times

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