More than 300 workers were this morning evacuated from sections of the WestConnex motorway tunnels following issues with a generator that provides power to the project, along with a broken water pipe.
It is the second time this week that work has been delayed on the project, with the first incident requiring more than 200 electricians to down tools after raw sewerage overflowed from a portable toilet block into the tunnel.
Electrical Trade Union officials have again attended the site today, with workers involved in the latest evacuation reporting concerns about confusion with the evacuation procedure, which could have dire consequences if a life-threatening incident took place.
ETU Secretary Justin Page said it was very concerning that multiple safety incidents forcing the mass evacuation of workers in the tunnel had taken place this week.
“This is a $16.8 billion infrastructure project, it’s the biggest infrastructure project in the state, yet basic health and safety systems appear to be repeatedly failing, delaying work on the project and putting workers at risk,” Mr Page said.
“One incident might be bad luck, but when each day seems to bring another serious issue, it raises valid questions about how the NSW Government is managing this project.
“In the latest incident, more than 300 workers had to evacuate at about 9.45am when there were issues with the generators that provides power to the tunnels.
“Earlier this week, more than 200 workers had to be removed from the tunnel after raw sewerage leaked from a portable toilet block, running through a section of the tunnel.
“Following both incidents, workers have reported concerns to the union about problems with the evacuation procedures, along with a lack of effective communication from management, which they fear could have deadly consequences if the evacuation was for a life-threatening emergency.
“Not only are these incidents putting the health and safety of workers at risk, each time a major incident stops work on this major infrastructure project it further pushes back the completion date, impacting the hundreds of thousands of motorists who are waiting for it to open.
“The Berejiklian Government need to get off their hands and start taking action to ensure this project can be completed safely and on time.”
Media contacts: George Houssos 0418 655 682 or Tim Vollmer 0404 273 313