Construction worker drowns in water filled trench

Contributed from Western Australia

A man fell into a 4-metre trench at Perth’s Mosman Park yesterday and died. He was stuck and drowned in the water rising about half way up.

This was called an accident. But it begs the questions, why was the water there in the first place, and why immediate action to prevent an accident apparently not taken.  Is this a case of a safety n breach on the job?

One man did not get the opportunity to return home to his wife and kids. and it is not a once off.

It happens again and again around Australia, and in most cases, it is easily preventable.

In this case, it took eight hours to retrieve the body. Imagine the trauma to his workmates. They tried to get him out, as he screamed that his leg was stuck.When the water rose over his head, others at the scene passed him hose, to breathe through, as he went under water. In the end they couldn’t save him.

A report is being prepared for the coroner. A report is being prepared for the coroner. This is all very good. But how many accidents, how many Worksafe investigations and coroners’ reports are needed, before something serious is done about preventable deaths in the workplace.

It is already known that many, if not most deaths at work occur because of unsafe conditions provided by the employer, or inadequate training. There are safety laws that spell out the minimum required. But when these are flouted, the penalty is no more than a slap on the wrist. An employer found guilty is fined. This is not much of a disincentive.

A major reduction in workplace deaths will only come about, if when they are found to be the result of negligence, whoever is responsible is convicted under an industrial manslaughter charge. This would mean the possibility of a prison sentence.

Safety should always come first.



1 Comment on "Construction worker drowns in water filled trench"

  1. Was there a safety officer, manager or someone to take charge of the incident? If not, where were they?

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