On Site B.I.G. Fatalities Policy and Procedure

This policy is aimed at ensuring a common approach on site by all Victorian Construction Unions (VTHC BIG) together, in the event of a death in the industry. The VTHC BIG note with concern that on average one construction worker dies on the job in Australia per week. The aim of this policy is to respect the death of a worker in the industry in Victoria, support the family of the deceased worker and to pass on information relating to the death which may prevent further deaths. Also to ensure that all workplaces are as safe as possible by conducting safety audits without restricting productive work.

When the VTHC BIG have confirmed the death of a unionised construction worker arising out of an industrial accident on site, the following steps will be taken:

The Secretary or other senior officer of the union concerned will contact the Secretary or other senior officer of each BIG union and Brian Boyd, Building Industry Group convenor, at the VTHC with specific details ASAP. The BIG convener will ensure that accurate information in relation to the deaths will be provided to the BIG unions to communicate to workers in report back meetings.

The immediate needs of the affected family of the deceased worker will be the first priority.

The site where the death occurs, and other sites of the same principal contractor, will immediately stop work. The Occupational Health and Safety Committee, for each site will hold report back meetings to inform employees on those sites about the nature of incident which led to the death, and provide information about the incident which may be relevant to a particular site. The purpose, of the meetings, is to disseminate information as effectively and efficiently as possible with a view to preventing any further such incidents.

Report back meetings on all other sites will be called in the industry the following normal working day to hear a report on the incident. The meetings will call for a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for the deceased worker. Then the following will occur:

  1. A full, thorough safety audit will be conducted by all available safety committee members from the basement to the roof and any OHS problems will be immediately rectified. Clean up works arising from the audit will be undertaken with such areas progressively opened to production once listed items have been addressed
  2. In addition, the site meetings will take up an agreed minimum amount per worker to be collected by the relevant Shop Stewards. This will be donated immediately to the deceased worker’s family via the appropriate union office where a receipt will be issued and shall be displayed on site notice boards. Such collections have to be endorsed by the relevant union Secretary or his nominee.
  3. The BIG policy excludes any resolutions about leaving the site.

The BIG policy does not restrict the right of any BIG Unions from taking further individual action.

These steps will be taken in consultation with the employers on the sites.