At the end of April, thousands of Victorian construction workers marched en masse through central Melbourne. The protest was directed at the construction company Grocon, with workers citing lax construction safety standards for the deaths of four workers.
The CFMEU copped a fair amount of flak for politicising the tragic deaths, with the Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine weighing in to the union’s fight with the construction giant.
‘It is absolutely disgusting, totally unacceptable, and it’s an insult to the people who’ve lost their lives,’ he said.
John Setka, the Victorian Secretary of the CFMEU, hit back claiming that the union had not done anything wrong.
For their part, WorkSafe issued a statement in response to the protests stating that Victoria had Australia’s safest workplaces and the best construction safety record in the country.
Who is ultimately held responsible will not be known for some time. Currently, there are a number of inquiries under way with the Victorian State Coroner, WorkSafe, the Victorian police and Grocon all investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths. The results of those inquiries are not expected for some time.
Preliminary reports pointed to some confusion over which particular authority was responsible for approving the plywood hoarding that was erected around the perimeter of Grocon’s CUB site on Melbourne’s Swanston Street, but one thing is clear: construction safety is back on the agenda in Victoria.
For us at Telum, safety has always been our highest priority. We value the health and safety of our contract labour workers and we have put systems in place to ensure we meet our obligations to them.
Our safety systems are designed to work in conjunction with our clients’ systems. Before we place contract labour candidates with a client we conduct pre-start medical checks and screen candidates as per your requirements.
All our candidates undergo rigorous construction safety training prior to placement as well as pre-start inductions that are site-specific. And our onsite safety team is always present to ensure that the safety standards of our partners are in accord with our own.
As we move into the Victorian construction space we will monitor the findings of the various investigations into construction safety very closely. We look forward to working with clients in Victoria seeking contract labour services and we will welcome any findings from the ongoing investigations and inquiries that contribute to greater workplace safety conditions for all – contractors, employees and employers alike. Quite simply, when it comes to workplace safety, Telum is all ears, all the time.