WORKERS on the Pacific Highway upgrade, north of Coffs Harbour, have this morning returned to work after raising safety concerns on the Leighton-run job yesterday.
More than 100 workers met with union officials and Workcover representatives for most of the day on Thursday, as closed door meetings were held with the construction company.
While the stop work meeting involved Leighton/Fulton Hogan staff, contracted workers continue to work machinery.
Leighton Contractors this morning reported that all staff have returned to work.
The stop work meeting followed the death of a worker on a Leighton job in Sydney and was based on claims workers injured on the Sapphire to Woolgoolga job have been pressured into signing documents to protect the company's "lost time through injury" record.
"The workers had no faith in the safety systems and believe they had not only broken down, but had been compromised legally," Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union north coast organiser Jim Hutcheon said.
Mr Hutcheon said on Tuesday a worker had seriously injured his hand while working at the Poundyard Creek site and had required hospital attention.
"The CFMEU believes safety representatives from the Leighton Fullerton Hogan Joint Venture pressured the worker into either signing the pre-start for the Poundyard Creek site and being paid for the day's work or taking sick leave as they did not want to jeopardise the site's lost time injury record," Mr Hutcheon said.
A Leighton Constructions spokesperson said the company through the joint venture with Fulton Hogan was working to deliver the Sapphire to Woolgoolga Pacific Highway upgrade.
"In regard to health and safety, the Leighton Fulton Hogan joint venture continues to consult with the work force through an active onsite safety committee, daily start up meetings and toolbox talks to promote a strong safety culture.
"In January 2012 new legislation was introduced giving employers 12 months to implement the new arrangements, which would put workplace representatives of work groups on site.
"The Leighton Fulton Hogan joint venture is in ongoing consultation with the CFMEU on this process and looks forward to reaching an outcome that ensures the representatives and the wider workforce fully understand their new roles and are well prepared to work under the new arrangements so we achieve best safety outcomes for everyone.
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