White Card Update: Workers Evacuated after Fire ignites on Sydney Site

A recent fire at a large construction site in Sydney caused chaos to erupt in the city centre and nearly 200 employees to be evacuated from the site.

The Sydney Barangaroo construction site was the source of a fire which ignited recently placing thousands of workers at risk.

The fire apparently started out small in the basement of the site, described to be one of the largest sites in the country at about 11am. The site controllers claim the fire was extinguished before the fire department even arrived on site by according to the building union, there were serious gaps in the site’s emergency evacuation process.

A union representative was quoted as saying:

“There are glaring holes … which haven’t been addressed based on what’s happened just now,” Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union safety officer Michael Preston said.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/fire-at-barangaroo-construction-site-reignites-20140321-357ex.html#ixzz2wmjwbI8f

The incident which took place on Friday morning, brought the Sydney city centre to a standstill as the blaze grew and thousands of workers had to be evacuated from the site.

The public were also severely inconvenienced as the fire caused traffic to become gridlocked and also caused massive delays for commuters.

The construction union has since called for an “urgent city-wide audit of construction safety standards” following a number of accusations about holes in the company’s emergency plan.

Mr Preston of the CFMEU went on to explain that workers were slowly going back to work on the site as the power which was lost due to damage caused by the fire was reconnected.

He went on to explain:

“No one really knew what was going on – to get off site or to stay on site,” he said of Friday’s fire.


Fire and Rescue NSW said the reignition of such a fire was a common occurrence.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/fire-at-barangaroo-construction-site-reignites-20140321-357ex.html#ixzz2wmjwbI8f

The company responsibility for the large site was Lend Lease and the company was quick to defend its safety measures and reaffirm its’ commitment to safety as the post went on to explain:

Site developer Lend Lease said it was put out before firefighters arrived.

“Safety remains our No.1 concern and all employees were safely evacuated,” a Lend Lease spokeswoman said.


Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/fire-at-barangaroo-construction-site-reignites-20140321-357ex.html#ixzz2wmjwbI8f

According to the latest reports workers who had been ordered to go back to work during a second Barangaroo construction site fire were later told by a Lend Lease manager that he had “f…ed up”.

Apparently at least 20 workers were ordered to stay on site by the manager while others were evacuated as a fire reignited from a blaze originating 2 weeks prior.

According to the company, Lend Lease their evacuation process had gone according to plan however video was obtained by the media which showed site management admitting that the emergency procedure had failed, even though the fire was quickly extinguished. According to an article on News.com.au the manager had this to say:

 “(What) wasn’t handled well, and I’ll take blame for that — I run this site so I’ll take full blame for it — is the evacuation procedure,” the Lend Lease employee told workers.


“I apologise to you — I f…ed up. I’ll take that heat.


“So apologies from me, not Lend Lease, me, I run this site, I f…ed up, so apologies guys.”


Source: http://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/barangaroo-boss-bungle-as-fire-reignites/story-fnii5s3x-1226861629182

Following the revelation that certain employees were asked to stay behind, the CFMEU state secretary Brian Parker expressed his anger that workers’ safety was put under threat.