Christopher Cassaniti had just celebrated his 18th birthday. Picture: Facebook
Christopher Cassaniti had just celebrated his 18th birthday. Picture: Facebook

‘I’ve seen blokes hurt’: Tradies reveal shocking lack of safety

SYDNEY tradies are opening up about the lack of worksite safety and revealing their "near misses" following the deaths of two men this week.

Ausgrid worker Robert Nicholls was electrocuted on Tuesday while on the job at Riverview in Sydney's north.

The 39-year-old was replacing a low voltage power pole with a crew in Riverview St when he suffered an electric shock, went into cardiac arrest and later died in hospital.

The scene of a scaffolding collapse where Christopher Cassaniti was killed. Picture: 9News
The scene of a scaffolding collapse where Christopher Cassaniti was killed. Picture: 9News

 

Robert Nicholls was electrocuted while on a job for Ausgrid on Tuesday. Credit: In the Cove
Robert Nicholls was electrocuted while on a job for Ausgrid on Tuesday. Credit: In the Cove

Mr Nicholls' death came a day after apprentice Christopher Cassaniti was killed when a nine-storey scaffolding tower collapsed at a Macquarie Park building site.

In a video, workers can be seen grabbing tools in a frantic bid to reach their trapped colleagues as screams came from underneath the scaffolding for 20 minutes, before falling silent.

Mr Cassaniti had celebrated his 18th birthday with family and friends just two days earlier.

The deaths have prompted tradies to speak up about workplace conditions, with a handful of men anonymously calling Sydney radio station Triple M to reveal the shocking incidents they have witnessed.

Christopher Cassaniti celebrated his 18th birthday just days before his death.
Christopher Cassaniti celebrated his 18th birthday just days before his death.

One man, who said he was a foreman, claimed he had "seen people hit by forklifts".

"I've seen containers drop directly behind somebody," he told host Lawrence Mooney.

"I've seen people walk between two trucks, they've taken half a step through the gap and the trucks have come together".

The foreman said the incidents were called "near misses or near hits" in the industry.

Two other callers complained about the disregard for safety procedures with one man, who was introduced as a safety manager, claiming people are in fear of losing their jobs if they speak up about reckless behaviour.

"I've seen blokes hurt, I've seen blokes sacked for trying to do the right thing," he said.

"I see near misses like you wouldn't believe, it never gets reported".

The man also claimed there was a lack of official support for safety practices on work sites. "I've been in the industry 20 years, I've never seen a safety officer from the government turn up to a job site".

The site of the Macquarie Park scaffolding collapse. Picture: Toby Zerna
The site of the Macquarie Park scaffolding collapse. Picture: Toby Zerna

Another tradie, who drives 1.5 hours to work everyday, said the lack of support for workers' welfare is a big issue on sites across Sydney.

"Just the way they push you, no-one cares about people's safety in the sense of well being," he said.

"They want more hours out of you … Everyone's just trying to get the job done".