ACCIDENT SITE: Scaffolding fell at the Lismore Base Hospital onto the maternity unit.
ACCIDENT SITE: Scaffolding fell at the Lismore Base Hospital onto the maternity unit. Cathy Adams

Investigation still underway for maternity ward roof collapse

AN investigation into the roof collapse of the Lismore Base Hospital maternity ward during a super cell storm in November last year is still underway.

There were 19 people inside the ward, including five mothers, their babies, two staff and seven visitors, when scaffolding attached to the redevelopment of the hospital collapsed onto the obstetric area on November 28.

Health Infrastructure NSW chief executive Sam Sangster said the organisation was anxious to see the findings from the investigation, given nothing like it had ever happened before.

“It’s a freak storm, so that’s why we’re very keen to make sure we do understand it (and) if there’s things that do need to happen off the back of that,” he said.

Mr Sangster said the roof collapse had prompted a state-wide inspection of every construction site contracted under Health Infrastructure NSW.

“We’ve gone to all of our other construction sites across the state and asked all of our contractors to make sure they have all their scaffolding being built to Australian standards and providing us with that satisfaction, and they all have,” he said.

Construction and engineering company John Holland are the main works contractor for the hospital redevelopment.

Mr Sangster said Health Infrastructure and John Holland had been cooperating with both the state authority, Worksafe, and the commonwealth workplace safety authority Comcare, which had jurisdiction over John Holland.

“We treat safety extraordinarily seriously and we’re never satisfied when these sorts of events have taken place that’s why we have the regulators, both state and federal, involved and engaged in this exercise,” he said.

Mr Sangster said Comcare had finished their investigation and were currently following their review process.

“There’s been a lot of data and a lot of work done to understand what’s been happening and they’ll come out with that when they’re ready,” he said.

“It’s like any of those regulatory authorities, they work to their timetable.

“We’re not pre-empting any findings that they may make about that.”



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