Light rail fined more than $14,000

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FOLLOWING safety concerns on the light rail project site, WorkSafe ACT has issued a number of fines as well as prohibition and improvement notices.

The notices, three prohibition notices and one improvement notice, were issued in relation to the storage and treatment of flammable materials on the site as well as an incident involving a small fire during a refuelling activity.

WorkSafe ACT says the fire incident related to the ignition of fuel vapours as a generator was filled with petrol in close proximity to where grinding of a metal track weld was occurring. This resulted in a small fire which was quickly extinguished and there were no injuries to workers on the site.

Infringements totalling more than $14,000 were also issued to a subcontractor and the principal contractor involved on the project.

Work Safety commissioner Greg Jones says safety on the light rail project remained a key focus of WorkSafe ACT and the presence of inspectors on site would continue to increase.

“This is a project which is not only of great prominence but also complexity and safety must remain the overarching consideration of workers and project officers working on this project,” he says.

Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Andrew Wall says the light rail construction is a major government project with significant union oversight guaranteed by the Government’s Memorandum of Understanding with UnionsACT.

“It begs the question; why is the government insistent on maintaining its MOU with UnionsACT when in the government’s own words its primary purpose is to improve workplace safety in the construction sector,” he says. 

“This is proof that giving unions the power of veto on government procurement projects does not result in improved safety, but only results in ACT taxpayers paying over the odds on major government construction projects.

“These breaches are simply not acceptable when Canberrans are paying over the odds for the light rail project in the name of safety.”

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