Nearly three years after the tragic death of 19-year-old Marcus Wilson, a New South Wales coroner has found that the ‘casual approach to health and safety issues’ of the Pride Building ‘contributed significantly to (Wilson) being placed in harm’s way.’
The young man’s death was a result of complications relating to hyperthermia after installing insulation under the federal government home insulation scheme in 42-degree weather.
Wilson was not an employee of the construction company and managing director Ryan Glover was unaware that the untrained worker was filling in for a friend. Still, Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon ruled the company’s lax attitude towards safety played a significantly role in Wilson’s death.
“This is amply demonstrated by the fact that he was prepared to work on such a day in such conditions without shirking or slackening,” says Dillon. “Unfortunately those conditions were the death of him. The lack of any standard procedures for ensuring mindfulness of safety on very hot days…exemplified Pride’s casual approach to serious health and safety issues.”
The coroner went on to suggest that while Glover was unaware of the circumstances, Pride’s lapse in safety protocol for hot days and a lack of obligation to workers offsite were highly negligent.
“Mr Glover held the erroneous view that once the contractors left the Pride depot, the company’s obligations to those workers were reduced virtually to zero,” says Dillon. “While Pride was not directly responsible for Mr Wilson’s death, its casual approach to health and safety issues contributed significantly to him being placed in harm’s way.”
The incident was not the first fatality under the highly controversial $2.8 million insulation scheme. Wilson is the third of four men who have died working under the scheme. Issues regarding the initiative revolve around the program’s quick implementation and how this was inciting unskilled workers to take on risky jobs without proper protocols or safety procedure training in place.