Second Construction Death Involving Lift

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Monday, February 22nd, 2016
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South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling has expressed disbelief that a scissor lift has been involved in a second death at the Royal Adelaide Hospital construction site.

A 63-year-old man was killed on Saturday when he was crushed between a lift and the top of a doorway, the CFMEU says.

In November 2014, Jorge Castillo-Riffo also died after suffering serious head, neck and back injuries when he was crushed between a scissor lift and a concrete slab.

Mr Snelling said the latest death was a terrible tragedy.

“When I first heard the news there was disbelief on my part that you could have two fatal accidents within (about) 12 months both involving similar equipment,” Mr Snelling told reporters on Sunday.

A prosecution is underway in regard to Mr Castillo-Riffo’s death but the minister said it was too early to talk about similar action in relation to the latest incident.

He said police and SafeWork SA would investigate and would determine if anybody should be held culpable.

“I think it would be unwise at this very early stage to jump to any conclusions,” he said.

But Mr Snelling said the safety of workers was a top priority for the government and if any gaps in work safety laws were identified it would make the necessary changes.

“It’s too early to say whether any of those issues might have been in any way connected to yesterday’s tragedy,” he said.

He also offered his thoughts and prayers for the family, friends and colleagues of the man who died.

The death brings this year’s work-related toll in South Australia to five, compared to 14 during the whole of 2015.

A spokeswoman for the hospital’s Hanson Yuncken construction group said the company was assisting SafeWork SA and SA Police with their inquiries and its entire workforce was being provided with appropriate support.

The new hospital is due to open towards the end of 2016.

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