A 23-year-old worker has died after he fell 20 metres when a roof collapsed on a building being constructed at Curtain University in Perth.
Two other men in their 20s have been taken to Royal Perth hospital with multiple injuries following the workplace incident at the Bentley campus which occurred before 12.30pm local time on Tuesday.
Western Australia police commander Mike Bell said two construction workers were on the canopy carrying out work when it “suddenly gave way without warning and both fell over 20 metres to the ground”.
“The cause of that collapse is yet to be determined,” Bell said. The 23-year-old man who died had been on working on the roof.
The other man who fell was taken to Royal Perth hospital along with another worker who was inside the structure when the roof collapsed. One of the men has serious injuries.
“Police and emergency crews are working behind me to make the site safe at which point we can remove the body of the deceased and we can commence our investigation,” Bell said.
The commander said the family of the 23-year-old was “devastated as you can imagine”. Bell said his body could not be removed until the scene was declared safe. “We are yet to speak to the family of the injured men so it is only the deceased’s family that has been advised at this point,” he said.
A St John Ambulance spokeswoman said two ambulance crews, as well as fire and emergency services and police, attended the scene.
The construction union said tradespeople who had been working on the building had been told to head home but many workers remained on the scene into the afternoon and gathered together as emergency crews assessed the damage.
A union representative later said: “Enough is enough.”
“Something has got to give – another young worker has lost his life here today,” he told reporters at the scene.
Curtin University said the incident occurred at building 418 which is currently under construction. “The site is under the management of head contractor Lendlease,” a university spokesperson said in a statement.
“We have been advised that no Curtin students or staff were involved in the incident. Our thoughts are with all impacted by this accident.”
The construction site is on the edge of the campus. It is part of a project called The Exchange which the university says will be an “innovation precinct” home to a new school of design and the built environment, two student accommodation buildings, a hotel and residential apartments “in addition to industry and retail space and recreational areas”. Comment has been sought from Lendlease.
The university campus is in Bentley, 8km south-east of Perth’s centre. A spokesman from the WA Department of Fire and Emergency Services said the building was being assessed and fire crews were on the scene. They had worked to release two people trapped in the debris – understood to be the workers in their 20s subsequently taken to hospital.
A text message sent by the university to students earlier stated: “There has been an accident on the construction site of building 418. Emergency services personnel are on site. Please avoid the area and avoid University Boulevard.”
Investigators from WorkSafe WA were at the scene and are due to conduct their own investigation.