The Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) has imposed strict licensing conditions on one of the country’s biggest construction companies following a series of safety incidents this year.
Five workers collapsed from heat stress at a construction site in Petrie two weeks ago, and another worker suffered a dangerous electric shock at a Kelvin Grove site in January.
The conditions require head contractor Hansen Yuncken – a billion-dollar business with 100 years of construction experience – to engage an independent certified auditor to undertake an audit of its safety management systems.
The national construction giant has 30 days to provide the QBCC with the safety audit, otherwise, it risks further licensing action.
QBCC Commissioner Brett Bassett said worker safety needed to be the top priority for all licensees.
“It doesn’t matter if you run a small company with two employees or a billion dollar business with hundreds of workers, safety at work must be paramount,” Mr Bassett said.
“It is the responsibility of employers to provide a safe workplace for their staff.
“The QBCC takes safety breaches seriously and appropriate licensing action will be imposed on licensees, as per our legislative powers.
“We work in close partnership with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and take advice from them during our investigations.”
In the heat of the afternoon on 13 February 2019, five workers required medical assistance after collapsing during a concrete pour at the University of Sunshine Coast Moreton Bay construction site. In addition to the conditions imposed on Hansen Yuncken, the QBCC has imposed license conditions on formwork company Adcon Qld Pty Ltd, for its role in the incident.
On the day after the incident, the QBCC issued both companies with notices to provide reasons why conditions should not be imposed, and both responded insufficiently.
The conditions imposed on Hansen Yuncken are also in response to an incident at the QUT Kelvin Grove Campus on 21 January 2019, where a worker suffered a dangerous electric shock.
Mr Bassett said that laws introduced in November 2017 by the Queensland Parliament require licensees to notify the QBCC of any safety incidents on work sites.
“The laws also equipped us with greater powers to take enforcement action against safety breaches,” he said.
“We will continue to use the full extent of the law when licensees are found to be operating unsafely, or safety systems are inadequate and immature.”
Licensees can notify the QBCC of a safety incident via www.qbcc.qld.gov.au or by calling 139 333.