Adelaide desal plant most deadly site in Australia

Three dead workers, more injured, all on one site in Adelaide.

In July, worker Brett Fritsch was killed when a steel beam fell from a soft sling on the Adelaide desal plant construction site.

Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union state secretary Martin O’Malley said too many companies used “soft slings” connected to cranes which, wrapped around steel beams, broke too easily, putting workers at risk.

“We’ve been arguing that the slings are not only inappropriate, but downright dangerous, for the past 25 years,” he said.

Mr O’Malley believed workers were instructed to use the slings “because they stop the steel from getting scratched”

It has now come to light that this was not the first death related to the desal site:

Allen O’Neil, 31, died on February 15 after accidentally inhaling diesel on December 12 last year at a site associated with the plant.

A desal plant insider said the man was siphoning diesel into his tanker, allegedly because he was not provided with the proper siphoning equipment by construction consortium McConnell Dowell Abigroup.

And another worker, a truck driver, was killed on the Lonsdale Highway whilst transporting materials to the site.

Workers are dieing. And a strong union should stand up to prevent these deaths. But in Australia, workers in the most dangerous trade in the country don’t have the same rights as you or me.

Construction workers are subject to the punitive powers of the ABCC. The Australian Building and Construction Commission was established by the Howard government, and retained by the Rudd and Gillard governments, in order to crack down on the power of the construction unions.

When workers strike over safety, projects fall behind schedule. When workers strike over wages and conditions, bosses, developers and banks lose money.

The workers in the building industry went on strike so often because their industry is so dangerous, when a building site is killing people, it needs to be closed down until safety is addressed.

But apparently, our government values profits over lives.

And the results speak for themselves:

A 95% increase in construction deaths? Simple as ABCC

This is unacceptable. The ABCC must be abolished, union rights are a matter of life and death.

Related: Ark Tribe is fighting charges for refusing to cooperate with the ABCC. We need to rally behind every single worker singled out by this obscene process.

1 Comment

  1. I am the partner of the deceased Allen O’Neil with have two lil girls now 4 and 3yrs of age, this was a great read, and all so true thank you xxx


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