Workers walk out as 40-tonne crane falls in Cairns!

Daniel Strudwick, Thursday, January 12, 2012 © The Cairns Post

ANOTHER near miss on a construction site at Mt Sheridan has reignited the concerns of union bosses who say the worksite is a “tragedy waiting to happen”.

A 40-tonne crane crashed to the ground only metres from construction workers at the site of the $50 million Mt Sheridan Plaza redevelopment yesterday morning.

It is the second time Workplace Health and Safety officers have investigated an accident at the site, after a man was taken to hospital in June, 2011, after falling from a concrete slab.

No one was hurt when the crane fell, but workers downed tools until inspectors gave the all-clear to principal contractors, Broad Construction.

Electrical Trades Union organiser Stuart Traill said the Mt Sheridan site was the worst he had seen during his four years as a union official, and workers were fed up with the poor safety standards.

He said an audit of the site before Christmas had found serious breaches of the state’s safety legislation.

“It seems every time we go there, there’s another safety issue and it’s not until we turn up that Broad takes it seriously,” Mr Traill said.

“They’re cutting corners in the name of getting the job done quickly.”

Broad Queensland’s general manager John McCann said an “exclusion zone” was immediately set up around the crane and workers were now able to return to the site.

But Mr Traill criticised the company for taking almost an hour to close the site after the crane fell about 8am.

He said tradies were initially told to keep working around the fallen crane.

“The workers are fed up with it,” he said.

“They fear for their safety, but given that it’s one of the only construction jobs around, they stay there because they need the work.”

The union said it would continue to focus its attention on the Mt Sheridan Plaza worksite until construction was over.



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