CONTRACTORS at the Lucas Woolworths building site could have been seriously injured or killed when a five-metre high concrete wall collapsed on Thursday, union officials say.
WorkSafe has launched an investigation into the incident.
WorkSafe spokesperson Rosanna Bonaccurso said nobody was injured and the builder, George Rydell Constructions, had been issued with an improvement notice.
“They’ve issued one notice requiring the company to implement a safe system of work,” she said.
CFMEU occupational health and safety advisor Peter Clark said one contractor working in the vicinity of the wall had left for a lunch break, shortly before the concrete panel came down about 1pm.
Mr Clark said the panels were held up with props and for some reason the wrong props were removed.
“They should be marked with coloured paint and they can remove them safely and everyone’s OK,” he said.
“The engineer needs to sign off and they can be removed.
“But that process wasn’t in place”
George Rydell Constructions did not return The Courier’s call yesterday, but Mr Clark said the CFMEU had spoken with the company and expected the procedure to be adjusted.
He said there were about 50 contractors working at the Lucas Woolworths site.
“A few of them are a little bit shaken up,” he said.
“If they had been working in the area they could have been seriously hurt or more than likely killed.
“Being as it’s five metres high and about eight tonne, you would expect it would squash anyone in the vicinity. The average car is about one-and-half tonne.”
Another contractor, who did not wish to be named, described it as “one of the most serious near misses Ballarat has ever seen”.
A Woolworths spokesperson said they were looking into the cause of the incident.
“An incident occurred yesterday at the Lucas Town Centre construction site where a concrete panel collapsed,” she said.
“Fortunately, no one was injured, however safety on our construction sites is very important to us and we are looking into how the incident occurred.
“It is unlikely construction timelines will be affected.”