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AWU accuses Snowy Hydro 2.0 of putting workers lives at risk following critical workplace incident

December 7, 2020

The Australian Workers’ Union has accused Future Generation of prioritising deadlines ahead of worker safety after a horrific incident left a Snowy Hydro 2.0 worker in a critical condition.

The crane supervisor, who was contracted to Future Generation, was in a car crash on the Snowy Mountains Highway on Saturday night after he was returning to remote offsite accommodation in the middle of a storm.

Due to the weather conditions he was unable to be evacuated by helicopter and had to be transported by road to Canberra Hospital.

The AWU extends its sympathy to the worker and his family. It warns unless there are major changes to workplace safety and housing there is a high chance more workers will be injured.

“This worker should never have been put in this situation. Future Generation and Snowy Hydro should have halted work earlier in the day when the storm began to hit,” said AWU NSW Assistant Branch Secretary Tony Callinan.

“This worker would still have had a long drive ahead of him, but at least he would have been travelling in safe driving conditions.

“Snowy Hydro has been beset by delays due to last summer’s bushfires and COVID-19 but it’s completely unacceptable that workers are being expected to pick up the slack by putting their lives at risk.

“This is a tier-one civil engineering project of national importance, but safety standards are dangerously sub-standard.”

The vast majority of the 1000 workers on the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project are being housed off-site at remote accommodation up to 60-90 minutes away.

Mr Callinan said: “This incident should be a wake-up call for Future Generation to finish its onsite accommodation and amenities before proceeding with the tunnelling phase of the project. That should be its most pressing deadline.

“121 men lost their lives building the original Snowy Mountains scheme and the AWU will not allow history to be repeated.”

Further enquiries: Tony Callinan 0425 302967

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