The death of a man while working on a scissor lift during construction of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital does not mean safety on the project site was inappropriate, an inquest has been told
Jorge Castillo-Riffo, 54, 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 Tuesday, David Maytom of the Hansen Yuncken Leighton consortium admitted he, as the construction director, was partly responsible for the safe completion of the project.
When asked whether he agreed that the project was not completed safely, he replied: “That’s a difficult question to answer.”
“Are we happy that Jorge died? Obviously not, and that’s a failing,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean the safety wasn’t appropriate on the project.”
Mr Maytom said no formal investigation was undertaken into the death in accordance with the safety management plan because of a lack of information.
“Obviously we couldn’t talk to Jorge,” he said.
Another director, Constantine Kerpiniotis, admitted Mr Castillo-Riffo was undertaking high-risk work at the time of the incident.
“If I saw what Jorge was doing… based on what I know, I would be concerned,” he said.
Outside court, Mr Castillo-Riffo’s partner, Pam Gurner-Hall, said the suggestion the worksite was safe was “just ludicrous”.
“How they got away with not more deaths on that site is beyond me,” she told reporters.
“There were two.”
Ms Gurner-Hall said some witnesses called to give evidence throughout the inquest had dodged questions to protect the companies involved.
She urged State Coroner Mark Johns to be “very thorough in his findings”.
“The recommendations that come out of the findings are long-lasting, and they, hopefully, can affect the way worksites work, how they conduct their safety processes,” she said.
“The design of elevated work platforms needs to be completely looked at.”