A 17-year-old apprentice who had only entered the building industry recently has tragically died after falling while working at a construction site in inner-Brisbane.
Tyler Whitton, who recently celebrated his 17th birthday, died after he fell several metres at the CS Development Group building site on Victoria Street in West End.
He was rushed to hospital in serious condition and placed in an induced coma. Sadly, he later died of his injuries.
“Words cannot describe the pain and complete numbness we are all experiencing, feeling knowing that we needed to let him go,” the boy’s grandfather Jack Whitton wrote on Facebook.
“Such an enormous tragedy for someone so young, in his first year as an apprentice builder.”
The CFMEU has called for a workplace safety overhaul following Tyler’s death, with allegations that workers on the same site had made complaints to the union just months before the incident.
“Workers reached out to the CFMEU at this construction project in West End in regard to productivity being pushed over safety,” the union posted on June 16, per Sydney Morning Herald.
“Workers have raised these concerns to the builder and told the CFMEU they were not given the time to clean the site or follow simple safety procedures.
“Have a look for yourself – this is what happens when the builder’s only concern is productivity over safety.”
The union’s secretary, Michael Ravbar, told ABC News when Tyler was still in a coma that this fall was the third work and safety incident in the area in four days, including another death in south Brisbane.
“After it took three hours for WHSQ to show up, the developer was allowed to complete the concrete pour despite clearly identified risk of falls from height at a number of locations on the top deck of the site,” he said.
“A young worker is fighting for his life while Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) looks the other way.”
Ravbar said that workers were left to try and sort things out themselves because their concerns were not taken seriously.
“The current failed system shields WHSQ from accountability and allows the regulator to shirk its job,” he said.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland said in a statement that its inspectors were actually dispatched “immediately” after learning of the incident involving Tyler Whitton, per ABC News, and that complaint notices had been issued to the operator.
“The business operator sent all workers home after the incident except those involved in a concrete pouring operation in a different area of the site. These activities concluded approximately 30 minutes after WHSQ arrived on site,” it said.
Tyler Whitton’s death has been the latest in a series of tragedies involving young people dying in unsafe working conditions across the country. Let’s hope these regulatory bodies get their shit together because this can’t keep going on.