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Unclear if bad safety led to SA teen death

AAP logoAAP 10/08/2016 By Marnie Banger

It's too early to tell whether poor worksite safety led to the death of a 17-year-old after a timber frame fell on him at an Adelaide construction site, the state's building association says.

Apprentice Clyde Norris died in hospital after suffering head injuries when a wall collapsed at a residential building site in Fullarton, south of Adelaide, on Tuesday.

The young man's brother, Oscar Norris, has paid tribute to him on Facebook.

"Rest In Peace Clyde, I love you! You will always be my bestfriend and Brother all in one, Forever with me an (sic) in my heart, Fly high!," he said.

The construction union has claimed basic safety processes weren't followed at the worksite and described the death as "utterly preventable".

"There was no site manager, no first aid facilities, no amenities and no safety officer. And no one was wearing hard hats," CFMEU SA secretary Dave Kirner said in a statement on Wednesday.

"In the residential industry, you see people working at heights with no protection, you'll see people working without hard hats, you see electrical leads and equipment laying on the ground."

But Master Builders Association SA chief executive Ian Markos says people are jumping to conclusions about the role safety has played.

"Anyone and everyone is making comments about safety, but they weren't at the site at the time of the incident and they don't know what has occurred, only Safework SA will have that information through their investigation," he told AAP.

Mr Markos said workers on residential building sites aren't legally bound to always wear a hard hat, and that hazards are managed based on risk assessments.

He said it was "out of order" for the CFMEU to make a statement before Safework SA has completed its investigation.

"Our focus has to be on prevention and the factual things that caused this incident to occur. If you don't concentrate on the facts, you can cause further problems by speculating and making changes to areas that don't need change," he said.

"We wouldn't want to scare mums and dads around the state whose kids are going to work in construction each day."

Safework SA says this fatality brings the state's work-related death toll for 2016 to 11. There were 14 fatalities recorded in 2015.

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