Construction giant Lend Lease has denied workers were sent back inside during an evacuation of the Barangaroo construction site which occurred this morning after a hotspot from last week’s fire reignited.
Following a company announcement that the site had been evacuated once more after one of the original hotspots from last week’s fire had flared up, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU) indicated that some workers had been sent back inside whilst the evacuation remained in progress – a claim the company angrily denied.
“That is incorrect. The site was successfully evacuated and all workers are safe and accounted for” “Lend Lease tweeted in response to an earlier union tweet that workers had reported being sent back inside during the evacuation.
The union claimed it had ‘first hand accounts of confusion’, inovolving some workers being told to go back inside as they were evacuating.
The latest development underscores ongoing tensions between the company and the union regarding safety on the site.
Aside from last week’s fire, during which fears a multi-storey crane could collapse caused evacuations of thousands of workers not just of the site itself but also nearby offices and led to mass traffic chaos, the site was shut down on several occasions during 2012 after union officials discovered the presence of asbestos, whilst union officials say the company has had cranes running into each other.
Last week’s events prompted calls from Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon of a safety audit of all major building sites in Sydney.
Australian Associated Press reported that the fire started in the basement on-site this morning and had been extinguished – a reignition from the flare up last week.
Fire and Rescue NSW said the reignition of the fire was not an uncommon occurrence, the news agency reported.