NEAR MISS: An elevated work platform lies on its side after being driven into an uncovered drain at the construction site of the new Clarence Correctional Centre.
NEAR MISS: An elevated work platform lies on its side after being driven into an uncovered drain at the construction site of the new Clarence Correctional Centre. CFMEU

LUCKY ESCAPE: Worker injured at jail site

A WORKER is lucky to be alive after machinery he was driving tipped over at the construction site of the Clarence Correctional Centre.

The worker was controlling an elevated work platform when it drove into an uncovered hole and rolled onto its side at the site of the new jail.

Construction firm John Holland did not confirm or deny the incident.

"Due to concerns, the project decided to enact a safety shutdown of part of the Clarence Correctional Centre site," a John Holland spokesman said.

"John Holland senior management conducted a safety walk with union representatives to confirm that all reasonable precautions had been taken to ensure the site was safe and take corrective actions if any issues were identified."

It is not the first time safety issues have been raised at the Grafton Jail site and in February work was shut down.

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union organiser Dean Reilly said accidents which involved elevated platforms were often fatal and the man involved was extremely lucky.

"This was a very serious incident and could have easily led to someone being killed," he said.

Mr Reilly said the worker involved received stitches for head and leg wounds and also had severe bruising.

He said the incident could have been avoided if the company responsible had installed more stringent safety measures.

"The union has raised the issue of hard barricades around pits and holes in the ground multiple times over the duration of this job," he said.

"This is a failure of systems on John Holland's behalf and we have grave concerns for the safety of workers on the site."

FLYOVER: Take a look at the jail site from the air

Mr Reilly also raised concerns that staff were not properly notified about the seriousness of the accident, which caused rumours to circulate around the construction site.

"Workers were unsure of the welfare of the man until 2.30pm in the afternoon and the incident happened at 8.05am," he said.

An EWP is a piece of machinery similar to a cherry picker which workers can drive while they are elevated several metres in the air.

Worksafe Queensland reported there had been two fatal elevated work platform accidents in Australia since 2012.

"A further 65 accidents resulted in either serious injury or other injuries requiring immediate hospital treatment," its website says. "In the same period, a total of 521 workers' compensation claims have been accepted for injuries associated with performing work on or near an EWP."

Workers raised concerns about the safety of scaffolding, access points, a lack of water on site and the state of the amenities.