Work on the South Ripley state and high schools is continuing.
Work on the South Ripley state and high schools is continuing. Contributed

'Workers at risk' with major safety breaches at school site

WORKERS at the South Ripley school precinct have been put at risk by unsafe practices, a Workplace Health and Safety inspection has uncovered.

Construction giant Watpac has been issued 12 improvement notices and one prohibition notice for poor practices on the $94 million primary and high school development.

Improvement notices were issued for defects including poor chemical storage, management of falling objects and inadequate plumbing systems after Workplace Health and Safety Queensland inspectors undertook action at the worksite on June 14.

The CFMEU claimed Watpac was "displaying callous disregard for workers' safety, and a cavalier approach to build quality".

"On one job, in the course of just one day, you have a major builder found in breach of the most basic safety standards," CFMEU assistant secretary Jade Ingham said.

"This exposed workers to risk of death or serious injury via fall from heights, and inspectors also issued notices in relation to, among other things, unsafe storage of chemicals and lack of safe access to areas where heavy machinery is operating."

Watpac has formally requested WorkSafe Queensland undertake an internal review of the improvement notices "for clarification regarding some discrepancies in the inspection process".

"Watpac has a good and ongoing interface with Worksafe Queensland, and safety is our absolute priority," a company spokeswoman said.

"The project is in good shape and the Watpac team, subcontractors and client are all focused on delivering a great school for the South Ripley community."

A Workplace Health and Safety Queensland spokeswoman said Watpac was responsible for the health and safety of project workers.

She said Watpac must now comply "to ensure the health and safety of workers on the site".

Recruitment of staff has started and the South Ripley state and high schools are on schedule to open for the 2020 school year.