One worker killed, another critically injured after scaffolding collapse in Sydney


One worker killed, another critically injured after scaffolding collapse in Sydney

Oscar Grenfell

2 April 2019

An 18-year-old apprentice died and another construction worker was critically injured when 15 metres of scaffolding collapsed at a building site in the Sydney suburb of Macquarie Park yesterday.

The tragedy is one of a spate of horrific incidents that has highlighted the dangerous conditions that prevail in the construction industry. Property developers, building contractors and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) routinely enforce speedups and subordinate workers’ safety in order to complete jobs quickly and ensure high profit margins.

The collapse occurred at around 12:30 pm on the site of a $220 million residential apartment development commissioned by Greenland Australia and being built primarily by construction company Ganellen. Between 300 and 350 workers were present at the time.

Nine storeys of scaffolding and some concrete reportedly collapsed without warning. According to the trade union, several workers leapt to safety from the scaffolding. Footage showed others running from falling debris.

Part of the site where the accident occurred

Christopher Cassaniti, a formwork apprentice, and a 39-year-old colleague were trapped beneath scaffolding and piping. More than 15 workers tried to free the men. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation aired footage of workers angrily confronting police officers who attempted to prevent them from removing the debris.

Emergency workers described the horrifying aftermath. Steven Vaughan, acting inspector of New South Wales Ambulance, told the media that paramedics arrived to “an absolutely chaotic and emotionally charged scene, given the nature of the debris, the location of…

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