Construction giant Grocon and a small signage company are facing $9 million in fines after being charged over the deaths of three people in a Melbourne wall collapse last year.
Worksafe alleges that Grocon failed to perform key safety checks and obtain a building permit for an 80-metre hoarding it had attached to a wall. “Grocon did not take any of the measures to eliminate or reduce the risk to health and safety of persons who were not its employees. Nor did it ensure that any other person or entity took such measures,” Worksafe alleges.
The wooden hoarding was approximately 300mm higher than the brick wall, which had significant cracks in its base. Engineers have said the hoarding may have acted as a sail, increasing the chances of the wall collapsing.
The charges come as the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) continue to highlight Grocon’s dangerous practices. Last year about 10,000 workers rallied in Melbourne, demanding better safety standards on Grocon construction sites.
The safety of workers and the general public should not be jeopardised by greedy construction companies like Grocon whose aim is to cut corners on safety measures in order to maximise their profits.
By Simone Howard