Christopher Knaus July 04, 2012
A fatality was narrowly avoided and a taxi significantly damaged after chunks of concrete were accidentally shot onto busy Civic streets from the high rise Nishi construction site yesterday afternoon.
The near-fatal workplace accident occurred about 4pm yesterday, as workers were pumping concrete up through the 10-storey office and apartment building, located at the intersection of Parkes Way and Edinburgh Avenue.
The concrete pipe became blocked, causing a large build-up of pressure.
Workers went to check the pipe, when concrete suddenly shot out, spraying solid pellets up to 30m from the high-rise development onto the street below.
The concrete rained on a taxi below, smashing the rear window and causing significant damage to the car.
The driver was inside at the time and narrowly avoided serious injury.
The concrete also missed a traffic controller on Edinburgh Avenue by just metres, according to the construction union.
Worksafe ACT have issued prohibition notices, preventing any further concrete work until thorough safety checks have been conducted.
A protective mechanism, which uses a forklift and solid barrier to prevent any overspray of concrete, had been temporarily removed from the spot at the time of the incident, according to the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
ACT branch secretary Dean Hall inspected the site this morning, and warned the incident had come dangerously close to causing a fatality.
Mr Hall said if workers were standing in front of the pipe at the time, they almost certainly would have been killed.
"That little change of moving that forklift could have potentially killed someone, that's how dangerous it is," he said.
"People need to be ever vigilant because one single mistake like that and someone doesn't go home."
Mr Hall said the subcontractor responsible for concreting at the site had paid to have the taxi repaired, and were also compensating the driver for loss of work.
The Canberra Times has so far been unable to contact Worksafe ACT or the subcontractor for comment.
The Nishi development, in the NewActon development, is planned for completion by November, and the building's structure was finished in February, following two years of work.
It will house Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency staff, offices of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and legal firm Clayton Utz.