Calls for all John Holland sites to be investigated for breaches of safety

The CFMEU is calling for all John Holland sites across the country to be investigated for breaches of safety as Comcare prepares to launch legal action over after the death of a Queensland worker in 2011.

The Brisbane tradesman was killed on a Brisbane Airport Link construction site when he was hit by a falling beam on the Thiess-John Holland joint venture.

The Australian newspaper is claiming it has a leaked memo that shows safety concerns about the site had been raised more than a year earlier.

Speaking to the ABC, CFMEU spokesman Dave Noonan says the unions had raised the issue of safety on the project before the fatality.

“The union was very concerned that the safety on the project was sub-standard – we said so at the time and of course tragically a worker was killed on that project,” Noonan said.

The ABC quotes Mr Noonan as saying the senior executive who wrote the memo said he had never seen a management team so cavalier about safety, and he had grave doubts about the management of the safety on the job.

“This raises some very serious questions about what the company did when they were advised of the bad safety on the job and the efficiency of the government regulators, both Commonwealth and state,” he said.

John Holland are currently involved with the Mount Arthur North Coal Processing Plant and Port Waratah Coal Services Project in NSW, and the Abbott Point Coal Terminal Expansion, Comalco Alumina Refinery, RG Tanna Coal Terminal Upgrade and the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Projects in Queensland.

A John Holland spokeswoman says the company is committed to achieving safe and healthy workplaces on all its projects.

“Safety audits are a regular occurrence on all our worksites and all safety-related information that is provided to John Holland and its directors is acted upon appropriately,” she said.

“There have been a number of fatalities – at Dalrymple Bay in Queensland and on two WA projects in Perth, and in the Pilbara,” he said.

Comcare told the ABC it was preparing to launch legal action in the Federal Court against John Holland over the tradesmen’s death and a separate incident where another worker was seriously injured, but as the matters are subject to court proceedings, it was unable to comment further.

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