A construction company has changed its safety rules for working with scissor lifts after the death of one of its workers on the new Royal Adelaide Hospital construction site, an inquest has been told.
Jorge Castillo-Riffo was working alone in 2014 when he was crushed between a scissor lift and the slab of the floor above and later died of catastrophic brain injuries.
In evidence on Monday, State Coroner Mark Johns heard that construction group SRG now required workers using a scissor lift to have a “spotter” if the lifts don’t have a security cage or a pressure plate to prevent a similar incident.
SRG national safety manager Bradley Parkinson said in hindsight it would have been wise for Mr Castillo-Riffo to have had a spotter.
He said the work the 54-year-old was doing at the time of his death was also considered high risk and agreed with a contention that it would have been better for him to have used scaffolding or other methods instead of the scissor lift.
Also on Monday lawyers for the hospital’s joint venture partners, Hansen Yuncken Leighton Contractors (HYLC) and for safety regulator SafeWork SA clashed over the provision of documents.
Counsel for HYLC said they had been “badgered” for material that SafeWork SA “should have applied for ages ago”.
SafeWork SA’s investigation of Mr Castillo-Riffo’s death was also called into question.
But SafeWork SA said its requests for documents only related to a three-month period after the incident and were not “onerous”.
In earlier hearings, Mr Johns was told that Mr Castillo-Riffo should not have been working solo at the time of his death, with Aaron Cartledge, state secretary of the construction union, breaking down during his evidence.
“I was on site that day, and if I didn’t have to race off to another meeting I would have gone and seen how he worked and would have stopped it,” Mr Cartledge told the court.
“This is just completely the wrong piece of equipment to use in this manner, absolutely.”
Mr Cartledge said safety meeting minutes also showed workers were concerned about doing their jobs alone, and he held concerns about the training requirements for employees using scissor lifts.
He said some workers had told him they had been trained for as little as 20 minutes before being allowed to use the device.