The North West Rapid Transit (NRT) consortium, made up of Hong Kong’s MRT Corporation, John Holland, CPB Contractors and UGL Rail, were unable to produce a heat policy on-site at Schofields yesterday as the temperature climbed above 37*C.
ETU official Tony Stegic attended the site to meet with ETU members and upon leaving found the temperature rising above 37*C. Tony re-entered the site using his OHS access permit and asked NRT for their working in heat policy which the principle contractor was unable to produce.
After dicking around and trying to pass the buck the builder admitted that they did not have a working in heat policy and went on to say “what difference does it make if its 37 or 47…”.
Tony Stegic said that it is this kind of attitude from builders that leads to serious injury and workers being exposed to situations that are unsafe.
“I couldn’t believe what this builder was saying when the temperature was climbing and workers were exposed to a potentially dangerous work environment that could quickly develop into an emergency if a worker suffers heat stroke or other heat related illnesses.” said Tony.
“I immediately contacted SafeWork NSW who said that they would “triage” the job and send an inspector if the agency deemed the situation to be dangerous.”
“It’s disturbing that there are builders out there that do not have a policy in place to deal with severe heat given we are coming into the middle of summer where this kind of occurrence is only going to increase.
“My message to ETU members is keep an eye on the mercury, watch the temperature and if it’s getting too hot or you can see your workmates struggling take the necessary action to make the situation safe including taking a break, conduct a hazard assessment and even stop work all together.” Tony said.
After the recent revelations concering Lend Lease at Barangaroo, the approcah of major builders are taking towards safety is unacceptable.
The ETU will be out on job sites making sure members are protected from severe heat over the summer months – if you know of a dodgy builder that is not abiding by the rules when it comes to working in heat contact the union and we will provide advice and visit the site if necessary.