A union has raised concerns about workers’ safety after disturbing footage and photos have emerged from a construction site in central NSW.
The Electrical Trades Union has released photos and footage from a solar farm construction site near Wellington.
In the video, the union claims workers’ safety at the Suntop Solar Farm are being put at risk as a “shipping container dangles precariously close to a lunch room, while people are inside”.
The union says despite multiple complaints to the company running the site, Bouygues Construction Australia, “the matter was not reported to SafeWork NSW”.
The union says the “disturbing” photos show evidence of mice and rats eating food, “disgusting toilet and fridge conditions”, and a lack of women’s hygiene facilities.
The union’s deputy secretary, Allen Hicks, said the workers have reported having no access to fresh drinking water and have been forced to sit outside in the heat and dust, with no undercover amenities provided.
“An exclusion zone should have been set up for the operation involving the shipping container, which was being lifted by a mobile crane.
“Instead, our members weren’t told it was happening and were shocked to realise a shipping container, which could easily crush them, was being moved right over their heads.”
Mr Hicks said instead of making improvements after multiple complaints the company terminated the health and safety representative on the site.
“Clearly, basic safety standards are not being enforced,” he said.
He called on Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean and the NSW Government to urgently intervene.
A spokeswoman from Bouygues Construction Australia said the health and safety of its workforce was their number one priority.
“We have been made aware of an incident that happened on Suntop Solar Farm on Tuesday,” she said. “We can report that no one has been injured as a result of this matter. We notified SafeWork NSW (Dubbo office) in due time and the allegations towards the notification delay are untrue.
“We also reject the suggestion that the facilities are in poor state.
“Every worker is authorised and encouraged to stop work if they believe an activity is unsafe and raise any safety concerns with their supervisor or Health and Safety representative.
“The project is committed to the health and safety of our workforce. We are investigating the matter and are in close contact with SafeWork NSW.”