Royal Adelaide Hospital Building Site Workers Return to Work

The death of Jorge Castillo-Riffo at the Royal Adelaide Hospital building site recently shook up not only the other workers on the site, but the entire Adelaide construction industry. In fact the tragic accident led to workers on the site downing their tools and bringing building progress to a halt.

Jorge Castillo-Riffo, 54, suffered serious head, neck and back injuries at the worksite when he was crushed between a scissor lift and a concrete slab.

The accident occurred on a Thursday and around 1400 workers on the busy site downed their tools until the following week, only resuming normal activities on Tuesday. Normally work continues on the site 24 hours a day with workers operating in rotation night and day.

The following excerpt from an article on explains

100x100xOIC_rah_construction_1.jpg.pagespeed.ic.XUSM2-gdXBAfter a meeting between the management and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), both parties agreed to shut down the work site out of respect for Castillo-Riffo.


Not only were workers shocked, traumatized and too shaken to resume work immediately after the accident, but some may have also had concerns about site safety. In addition they were also showing respect to their fallen co-worker. Co-workers were offered counselling and collection tins were distributed to raise money to help support Castillo-Riffo’s family.

Aaron Cartledge, secretary of the CFMEU explained that there is a sense of comradery among the workers,

“One thing that we do well in this industry is that workers do pull together,” Mr Cartledge said.


The writer of the post explains that Castillo-Riffo suffered from head, neck and back injuries after he was trapped between a scissor lift and a concrete slab on Thursday and was rushed to hospital but died the following day.

The post went on to state:

Workers at the site returned to work Tuesday and paid homage to their fallen co-worker by offering a minute of silence. Aaron Cartledge, CFMEU state secretary said that they will start reviewing the procedures of the site and SafeWork SA will likewise look into the fatal industrial incident.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital building site currently employs more than a thousand workers and operates 24 hours a day.


Despite some concerns that safety on the RAH work site was being neglected, Health Minister Jack Snelling said he had conveyed to the construction managers how important safety was at the site. He stated that:

“This is … terribly, terribly sad and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family and of course to his fellow workers, many of whom have been obviously traumatised by this terrible event,” he said.

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On big sites such as this, it is easy for complacency to set in around safety especially when individual workers aren’t being properly supervised or monitored when in engaging in dangerous activities.

Although productivity is usually the first objective of builders and site controllers, this incident proves how important it is that safety be prioritised and that all workers receive the necessary training and supervision, especially those undertaking high risk work.



Posted by Construction Safety News Admin
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