Man dies in makeshift forklift cage

Posted on 16/04/2019, 10:14 PM by Gary Willcox
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A man in his 70s has fallen to his death in a workplace accident at a Clayton factory today.

 
The man was working inside a makeshift cage attached to a forklift when it came off the forklift tines and fell four metres to the ground.
 
The death occurred at a factory on McNaughton Rd shortly before 12.30pm.
 
Victoria Police confirmed that the man was declared deceased at the scene, and will prepare a report for the coroner.
 
WorkSafe is investigating the incident.
 
This fatality brings the number of workplace deaths to 10 this year.
 
Source: Herald Sun

Farting in the workplace

Posted on 15/04/2019, 10:49 PM by Gary Willcox
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Can farting in the workplace amount to bullying?
 
An employee who claims he was bullied by a flatulating fellow worker has vowed to take his former employer to the High Court of Australia.
 
The Supreme Court of Victoria heard that Mr Hingst moved from a communal office at the workplace of Construction Engineering to get away from the supervisor’s flatulence, but the determined farter would not allow Hingst to get away that easily — repeatedly entering Hingst’s new windowless office to “lift his bum and fart”.
 
Mr Hingst, who was made redundant by the company, claimed the flatulence was part of a conspiracy to get rid of him.
 
Hingst began legal proceedings against his employer in 2017, but the case was thrown out of the Supreme Court of Victoria last year, with Justice Rita Zammit finding that even if the farting occurred, it “would not necessarily amount to bullying”.
 
And although the judge found there was “some inappropriate behaviour in the office, including passing wind”, it was “typical banter or mucking around”.
 
Undeterred, Mr Hingst took his case to the Court of Appeal, maintaining his allegations that “flatulence was a form of bullying” and that the situation had led him to experience “severe stress”.
 
However, that court also found against him, ruling that the conduct does not amount to bullying.
 
The court also ordered Hingst to pay his former employer’s legal costs.
 
But Mr Hingst is not finished yet, vowing to take his case to the highest court in the land — the High Court of Australia.
 
Section 789FD of the Fair Work Act 2009 (the Act) is titled ‘When is a worker bullied at work?’ and provides that a worker is bullied at work if an individual or a group of individual repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker, or a group of workers of which the worker is a member; and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.
 
Bullying behaviour can range from obvious verbal or physical assault to subtle psychological abuse. It can include:
 
 - Physical or verbal abuse
 - Yelling, screaming or offensive language
 - Excluding or isolating employees
 - Psychological harassment 
 - Intimidation
 - Assigning meaningless tasks unrelated to the job giving employees impossible jobs
 - Deliberately changed work rosters to inconvenience particular employees
 - Undermining work performance by deliberately withholding information vital for effective work performance.
 
Amendments to the Act which came into effect on 1 January 2014 set down a range of measures to deal with claims of workplace bullying, from “reasonable management action” by employers to the powers of the Fair Work Commission (FWC).
 
A person who claims to have been bullied can make an application to stop the bullying to the FWC.
 
The Commission is required to look into the application within 14 days, by:
 - Taking steps to inform itself of the situation.
 - Conducting a conference, or deciding to hold a hearing.
 
The FWC may then:
 - Contact the employer or applicant,
 - Conduct a conference or formal hearing, 
 - And/or make recommendations.
 
If the matter proceeds to a hearing, the tribunal can make any orders it considers appropriate to stop the bullying, including:
 - Cessation of the conduct,
 - Monitoring by the employer,
 - Provision of support, and/or
 - Any review of workplace policies.
 
Civil remedy may be available for the breach of anti-bullying orders, as well as orders for costs.
 
The Federal Court, Federal Circuit Court and other eligible state and territory courts may hear breach proceedings.
 
Source: Safety Solutions

Campbellfield fire clean up continues

Posted on 07/04/2019, 10:31 PM by Gary Willcox
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 A senior Metropolitan Fire Brigade officer said a shiver went down his spine when he received a call on Friday morning telling him fire had broken out at a waste storage and disposal facility in Melbourne's north.

 
The Metropolitan Fire Brigade said it had been aware of risks associated with the site
 
The fire at Bradbury Industrial Services in Campbellfield, which started about 6:40am, spewed thick black smoke over the suburbs, prompting authorities to urge local residents to stay indoors and forcing the temporary closure of several schools.
 
Two workers were injured in the blaze and one of them, Vigneshwaran Varatharajan, remains in The Alfred Hospital with serious burns.
 
More than 175 firefighters managed to bring the blaze under control on Friday, but fire crews remain at the scene, using heat detection devices to identify and dampen down hotspots.
 
Metropolitan Fire Brigade deputy chief officer David Bruce said the walls of the warehouse had been structurally compromised by the fire, and firefighters were using an excavator to help them access the building safely.
 
"For safety purposes we've got to get the excavator in to pull the walls down to make it easier for us to get in to attack those hotspots," he said.
 
Bradbury Industrial Services provides storage and disposal services for hazardous and industrial waste, and specialises in treating solvent and other waste from paint and related industries.
 
The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said in a statement last month that it had suspended the company's licence to accept waste on March 15 after an inspection by officers.
 
The EPA's Damian Wells said the business was permitted to store 150,000 litres of hazardous materials and had been found with 400,000 litres at the inspection.
 
He said an inspection by an officer on Thursday found about 300,000 litres of materials at the property.
 
Mr Bruce said the MFB had been aware of the risks surrounding the Campbellfield site.
 
"We were aware of what they were doing there — we have been working with other agencies about that premises.
 
"A shiver did go down my spine, not only for the safety of our firefighters, but also the community."
 
He said the operators of the business were cooperating with authorities.
 
Mr Varatharajan was placed in an induced coma on Friday but has since regained consciousness, and was able to speak to a friend on Saturday morning.
 
His friend and housemate Vasantharaj Vasanthakumar, who also works at the facility worked a night shift on Thursday and went home soon after Mr Varatharajan started his shift at 6:00am.
 
Speaking through an interpreter, Mr Vasanthakumar said he received a call from his friend later that morning telling him that he had been injured in the fire and was going to hospital.
 
He said he was surprised to receive a call from his friend at that time, and suspected a fire, after two other fires had broken out in the facility previously.
 
Mr Vasanthakumar said Mr Varatharajan told him he was pumping liquid between two chemical drums when the drum exploded, burning him on his face and chest.
 
Mr Vasanthakumar said he did not feel safe working at the business, but liked working alongside his Tamil friends.
 
Mr Vasanthakumar said his friend's family remained in a refugee camp in India.
 
Victorian coroner Darren Bracken has launched an investigation into the blaze following a request from the fire brigade.
 
Source: ABC News

Franchise fined $60,000

Posted on 02/04/2019, 11:20 PM by Gary Willcox
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 A NSW franchise of KFC (also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken) has been fined $60,000 after a 20-year-old worker slipped in the kitchen and suffered serious burns to his leg.

 
The incident has prompted a warning from SafeWork NSW to employers about the need to provide safe working conditions.
 
The worker used a ladder in November 2016 to clean the area above open pots containing hot oil used to cook chicken at the KFC in Coffs Harbour.
 
As the worker tried to come down from the ladder, there was an electricity black-out and his leg slipped in a cooking pot. He suffered third-degree burns to his left leg and underwent a skin graft.
 
The District Court fined QSR Pty Ltd $60,000 late last month. QSR has the right to lodge an appeal.
 
The court found that there had been a failure to ensure the cooker lids were closed and in a locked position when the area above them was cleaned. They should also have been switched off during the cleaning process.
 
The judgment said that QSR pleaded guilty in its failure to provide its health and safety duty which exposed the worker to risk.
 
The court found QSR did not adequately implement safe work procedures, including training, for the cleaning task.
 
The judgment said QSR "demonstrated remorse and contrition" and has taken many steps since the incident "to ensure the safety of its workers".
 
Executive director for SafeWork operations Tony Williams said it was vital for employers to equip young workers with the right training and resources, supported by adequate levels of supervision and monitoring.
 
"The incident occurred at a workplace with a number of young and vulnerable workers who have limited work experience and may not understand the risks of what they are doing or know how to protect themselves from injury," Mr Williams said.
 
"By law, managers or supervisors of young workers have a legal obligation to protect
young workers from incidents such as this which are entirely preventable."
 
Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Scaffolding collapse kills 18yo man, leaves another man critically injured.

Posted on 02/04/2019, 7:41 PM by Gary Willcox
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 A man who died after scaffolding collapsed at a building site in Sydney's north-west was an apprentice who turned 18 years old just last week.

 
Emergency crews were called to the site at Macquarie Park about 12.30pm after scaffolding and concrete collapsed, trapping two workers.
 
One worker, 39, was released from the rubble and taken to Royal North Shore Hospital under a police escort.
 
Christopher Cassaniti — a formwork apprentice — died at the scene.
 
His devastated parents attended the site shortly after the accident.
 
Eight ambulances, plus police and fire and rescue crews, and the Care Flight helicopter were at the scene.
 
NSW Ambulance Acting Inspector Steven Vaughan said emergency workers arrived at "an absolutely chaotic and emotionally charged scene … given the nature of the debris, the location of where it occurred and just the emotional state of all those who wanted to help their colleagues."
 
"It took some time to ascertain what had happened," he said.
 
"They were able to treat and stabilise one of those patients who has since been transported to Royal North Shore in a critical condition."
 
Rescuers struggled to free the teenager among the twisted pile of piping.
 
The work was slow and delicate due to the risk of a further collapse.
 
"We're working slowly and methodically and taking the advice of experts on scene that are trained in urban search and rescue to make sure that our paramedics and the other emergency services are safe," Acting Inspector Vaughan said.
 
NSW Police said a crime scene had been established and the incident would be investigated by police from Ryde Police Area Command and SafeWork NSW officials.
 
A report will also be prepared for the coroner.
 
The young man who died had been working on the site for at least 18 months and just turned 18.
 
The teen's mother operated a coffee canteen around the site and was at the scene within five minutes.
 
The scaffolding collapsed from at least 15 metres high and other workers were lucky to have escaped injury and death.
 
Two bricklayers who were up on the top of the scaffold about to start work jumped off onto the balcony as it started to move which saved their lives.
 
SafeWork said its inspectors were investigating the incident, but at this stage, the cause of the collapse was unknown.
 
The accident occurred at the site of the apartment development known as "nbh at Lachlan's Line" a $220 million residential development by Greenland Australia and mostly built by construction company Ganellen.
 
Greenland offered its sympathies over the death.
 
"This is clearly a tragic incident and Greenland would like to take this opportunity to extend its deepest condolences and sympathies to the individual's family, friends and co-workers," a statement said.
 
"Greenland has also been advised that another injured worker is currently receiving treatment in hospital but that all other workers on site have been safely accounted for.
 
Ganellen said in a statement it would continue to assist emergency authorities onsite.
 
The development is to feature a supermarket, medical centre and retail stores.
 
A progress summary on Greenland's website, dated March, 2019, said the public was finally getting its first look at the building "with scaffolding coming down and facade works nearing completion".
 
It said the building was due for completion this year, with between 300 and 350 workers on site each day.
 
Source: ABC News

ADF contractor fined

Posted on 27/03/2019, 10:06 PM by Gary Willcox
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 An Australian Defence Force contractor has been fined $160,000 for workplace health and safety breaches after a worker was crushed by a Bushmaster infantry vehicle.

 
Logistics giant Thales Australia was found guilty of two counts of failing to comply with commonwealth health and safety duties after a trial in Brisbane Magistrates Court.
 
The worker was one of three men towing the Bushmaster in July 2015 when he was seriously injured by being pinned between it and a towing motor at the Damascus Barracks near Brisbane airport.
 
He suffered injuries to his lower body.
 
The company, which faced fines of $3 million, was accused of failing to provide adequate training, supervision and instruction for the job.
 
As a result, the Bushmaster was not towed or secured safely because a chain was used when it should not have been.
 
"They did not know what to do," crown prosecutor Julian Noud said.
 
In handing down her sentence on Wednesday, magistrate Judith Daley said the failure to provide instructions was "not a complete systems failure".
 
But she noted the risk of death or serious injury from the activity was high.
 
"They failed to ensure the workers and other persons were kept safe from Bushmasters moving in an non-controlled manner by providing information and instruction as necessary to prevent such incidents," she said.
 
"This is not a minor oversight. It is a significant failure."
 
Ms Daley said the fact Bushmasters were not commonly towed "only heightens the requirement for strict information and instructions".
 
"Workers and other persons would be unfamiliar and uncomfortable with work they were doing and would be less alert to the potential risks," she said.
 
The court heard Thales, which employs some 3000 people, had no prior history of workplace health and safety breaches in 32 years of operating in Australia.
 
It was also noted it had provided "substantial support" to the injured worker.
 
Source: 9 News

He simply went to work to provide for his family

Posted on 25/03/2019, 10:54 PM by Gary Willcox
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 The 'devastated' family of a construction worker who had his foot amputated after a workplace accident at a luxury apartment development are in shock.

 
Miladin Adamovic lost his foot in a workplace accident in West Melbourne. 
 
Miladin Adamovic was working on an external lift at the Melbourne Village complex in West Melbourne on Saturday when his foot was clipped, leaving it 'hanging by a bit of skin'.
 
The 40-year-old father was rushed to the Royal Melbourne Hospital but surgeons were unable to save his foot.
 
The construction site was shut down and the occupational health and safety manager Gerry Ayers said Mr Adamovic's colleagues were in shock.
 
 
"Our thoughts go out to the workers who witnessed that and we're going to provide counselling for all those workers," Dr Ayers said.
 
Miladin's wife Mirela said it had been tough for the whole family.
 
“My husband’s injury has devastated our family," she said.
 
"He simply went to work to provide for his family and now we’re dealing with this.”
 
Mr Adamovic is being supported by family, friends and colleagues and he will need more surgery in coming days.
 
Mr Reardon from the CFMEU said "Until governments of both persuasions start protecting the lives of workers instead of turning a blind eye, nothing will change. Our thoughts and support are now firmly with this man and his family.”
 
The $171 million luxury apartment development on Spencer Street will have 531 apartments and include a swimming pool, wellness centre, library lounge and garden.
 
Saturday's incident was the latest in a string of separate construction site injuries in the past few months.
 
A man was seriously injured at a work site in West Melbourne.
A man was seriously injured at a work site in West Melbourne.CREDIT:PICTURE: 7 NEWS.
 
In late-February, two construction site workers were taken to hospital after becoming trapped in a collapsed four-metre trench in Epping.
 
In October last year, a crane driver was treated for suspected spinal and leg injuries after he fell about two metres inside a tower crane on a construction site in Melbourne's CBD.
 
In September 2018, a 48-year-old man died when a 1.5-tonne tub of concrete fell from a crane at a work site in Box Hill, in Melbourne's east.
 
Two others were injured and submerged in concrete when a crane dropped its tub.
 
In 2016/17 there were 24 lives lost in Victoria and 26,429 standard claims with WorkSafe Victoria.
 
According to Safe Work Australia, 3,414 workers died between 2003 and 2016, 44 who died in 2016 worked in agriculture, forestry and fishing.
 
Source: The Age

Swim centre fined

Posted on 21/03/2019, 11:13 PM by Gary Willcox
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 The owners of a western Victorian swimming centre have been fined $150,000 for a diving accident which left a 12-year-old girl a quadriplegic.

 
Milly Yeoman was taking part in school swimming lessons at the Swim and Survival Academy in Ballarat in 2016 when an instructor told her to dive into a pool that was too shallow.
 
The owners of the swim centre, De Kort Enterprises Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to one count of breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the Ballarat County Court for failing to ensure the centre was safe.
 
Milly, now 14, faces life in a wheelchair after she suffered a broken neck and severe spinal cord injuries in the accident.
 
She was airlifted to the Royal Children's Hospital on November 1, 2016, where she spent nearly 200 days. 
 
She still requires 24-hour care.
 
Family disappointed with low fine
 
Speaking outside court, Milly's mother Rebecca Yeoman said the family was disappointed with Judge Paul Lacava's sentence.
 
"It was nowhere near enough," she said.
 
"We were hoping for one million."
 
The maximum penalty that could have been imposed for the charge was $1.4 million.
 
Judge Lacava said he took into account De Kort Enterprises' early guilty plea when handing down the sentence.
 
He told the court the accident had profoundly impacted the Yeoman family.
 
"Their lives have been turned upside down by this tragedy," he said.
 
"The victim impact statements submitted to the court were powerful and moving evidence of the intense impact this has had on almost every aspect of their everyday lives."
 
'Everything blacked out'
 
The incident was captured by cameras inside the swim centre, which was viewed by the County Court Judge in private. 
 
The court heard an instructor told Milly to dive into the pool that was 1.2 metres deep.
 
She hit her head on the bottom of the pool and was face down for about 10 seconds before an instructor pulled her up. 
 
"I just remember when I hit my head everything kind of stopped," Milly said. 
 
"Everything blacked out." 
 
Prosecutor Andrew Palmer said Milly should have never been told to dive into the shallow pool. 
 
"Milly was 46 kilos heavier and 23cm taller than the average female her age," Mr Palmer said. 
 
Royal Life Saving Society Victoria recommends dives should take place in pools with a depth of 2 metres.
 
Owners apologise to family
 
Lawyers for the husband and wife directors of De Kort Enterprises, Rob and Julie De Kort, who have run the pool for 17 years, told the court they accepted responsibility for the accident.
 
"They sincerely regret what happened to Amelia and the severe trauma it caused her family," defence lawyer Robert O'Neill told the court.
 
"There's been about 90,000 dives in the pools at the swim school and they've never had a serious incident before this one."
 
"They are committed to do anything they can to make sure no such incident takes place in the future."
 
The Department of Education was also facing one charge of breaching the Occupational Health and Safety Act and was due to appear in court in June. 
 
Source: ABC News
 

Man's leg partially severed

Posted on 21/03/2019, 10:14 PM by Gary Willcox
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 Paramedics were called to the Port Kembla Coal Terminal near Wollongong following reports the man in his 40s had been run over by a semi-trailer while unloading coal early on Thursday morning.

 
"The man obviously won't die from this, however I have concerns that his leg is significantly damaged," New South Wales Ambulance District Inspector Terry Morrow said.
 
"It would take a miracle for surgeons to put his leg back together."
 
Mr Morrow said the man was unloading coal into a chute at the terminal when the truck started to roll away.
 
"He got knocked to the ground and both bogie wheels of the semi-trailer ran over his lower left leg.
 
"The truck's run over the leg on a number of occasions — the bogie wheels of both the prime mover and the next semi have run over his leg.
 
"That has rotated the leg repeatedly, so it's pulled the muscle fairly significantly."
 
According to first responders at the scene, the man was trapped underneath the truck for some time while paramedics worked to free his leg.
 
"He was trapped between the truck and the coal chute," Mr Morrow said.
 
"We went underneath the semi-trailer with our medical equipment and stabilised the patient.
 
"We had to put an arterial tourniquet on because there was massive bleeding to the lower leg."
 
SafeWork New South Wales has commenced an investigation into the cause of the incident.
 
The authority's spokeswoman Lisa Foley said witnesses are being interviewed at the terminal.
 
"We've deployed a team of inspectors, they're site now and are currently working with New South Wales Police and Port Kembla Coal Terminal representatives to get to the root cause of what happened," Ms Foley said.
 
"We also need to speak to any witnesses available plus look at the plant and equipment that was involved to figure out what occurred."
 
In a statement, Port Kembla Coal Terminal said it has offered counselling and support services to the family and others impacted by the accident, and that the incident happened at in an area designated for coal delivery services only.
 
"An external investigation is underway and we are providing our full cooperation to the authorities involved with the incident," the statement said.
 
Source: ABC News

CFMEU accused of covering up a safety incident

Posted on 17/03/2019, 10:37 PM by Gary Willcox
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 A construction worker is alleging the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union helped cover up a safety incident at a Multiplex site as part of its close relationship with the builder.

 
Tradesman John Tyson, a key witness to an incident where a worker fell and broke his leg at Multiplex's $1 billion Jewel apartment project on the Gold Coast, has made the claims as part of unlawful termination case against his employer Heiko, a related entity of Heinrich Constructions.
 
He alleges the CFMEU falsified a report of the accident, failed to interview him as the only witness, helped alter the accident area before safety inspectors arrived and then threatened him when he continued to raise concerns.
 
Construction worker John Tyson says he was "shocked" when he heard a CFMEU incident report of an on-site accident as it was "completely untrue". Paul Harris
 
The claims up-end the traditional image of the CFMEU, which has used safety to justify its militant behaviour and to aggressively pursue employers.
 
Senior CFMEU state officials are expected to be called to give evidence in the case, which involves compensation claims totaling almost $1.8 million.
 
In an affidavit filed in the Federal Circuit Court last month, Mr Tyson alleged the accident occurred after Multiplex had already been fined for safety breaches, including for workers hanging over the side of a building.
 
"It was generally known on site that anyone who reports safety breaches like that would run the risk that they would be terminated," his affidavit said.
 
Multiplex had a close relationship with the CFMEU at the time, paying union employees to act as on-site delegates, and the Jewel project was considered a union "EBA job".
 
Mr Tyson claimed on September 25, 2017, he witnessed Heinrich carpenter Jason Whittle fall over after a wall gave way, causing his leg to get caught in exposed concrete reinforcing steel.
 
As work was suspended and workers headed to the sheds, he says he saw a Multiplex employee with a wheelbarrow, rake and shovel approaching the accident area and say he was going "to clean it up".
 
After leaving the sheds an hour later, he claims he saw several Multiplex and Heinrich employees, as well as a CFMEU official, cleaning and altering the accident site.
 
The next day the site looked "very different", with debris and rubbish removed, the wall smoothed out and access areas cleared, his affidavit says.
 
When CFMEU delegates read out the incident report at a union meeting, Mr Tyson says he was "shocked" as it was "completely untrue and not what I had witnessed".
 
The report claimed Mr Whittle had slipped on a rock while walking down into the trench and that was how he ended up at the bottom.
 
Mr Tyson told the union meeting "that's not how it went down" and said he had not been called to give a statement despite telling union delegates he was the "only witness".
 
Employees at the meeting "erupted" after he spoke, Mr Tyson claimed, "banging on the tables and yelling aggressively at the CFMEU delegates".
 
"The delegates ran out of the room," according to his affidavit.
 
'We'll bash you c--t'
 
He quit the union in protest and continued to raise his concerns about the Whittle incident over the next several months.
 
During that time, he claims "heavyweight" CFMEU officials tried to pressure him to rejoin the union.
 
"I had concerns they would physically harm me and I was frightened and very concerned that I would be forced into a physically threatening situation that had many implications," he claimed.
 
In March 2018, he emailed senior CFMEU officials about his concerns over safety on the project.
 
A CFMEU official allegedly confronted him about the email later that day and another allegedly called him a "f----g dog" on the phone, yelling "we'll bash you c--t. You don't know what you've done".
 
Mr Tyson also raised his views at a union meeting attended by a senior CFMEU official on April 27.
 
Later that day a Heinrich manager called him into his office and said if he didn't want to pay his union fees there were "other jobs out there".
 
Mr Tyson was finally dismissed on May 11 after the Gold Coast Bulletin published an article raising worker concerns that the union was "too close" to Multiplex and that an accident area had been cleaned up before WorkSafe inspectors could examine it.
 
On the day the article was published, a senior CFMEU official allegedly came up to Mr Tyson and called him a "f-----g dog".
 
He was dismissed the next day with eight other employees and his termination notice recorded the reason as "lack of work".
 
Mr Tyson is arguing he was really fired because he exercised his workplace right to complain to the CFMEU about the Whittle incident, or because he quit the union.
 
He claims he has applied for 130 jobs since his termination but had not been successful in obtaining employment.
 
The CFMEU declined to comment. In a statement to the Gold Coast Bulletin at the time, it said "any allegation that this union is in the pocket of Multiplex is farcical, and not supported by facts".
 
Heiko has denied the allegations and says it terminated Mr Tyson's employment "due to a shortage of work and for no other reason".
 
Multiplex said "the incident referenced was reported and investigated in accordance with WorkSafe  procedures and our own safety protocols".
 
"We strongly encourage all workers to report any incidents on our sites," a spokesman said.
 
"There are no instances where a worker has been disciplined by us as a result of reporting an incident."
 
The court is expected to set a trial date for the case next month.
 
Source: Financial Review