Doing it for Aaron
In an emotional show of solidarity, more than 300 workers on Lendlease’s Kingscliff Tweed Hospital site stand behind a photo of Aaron Fryer who at 17, is one of the youngest to die on a construction site in Australia.
Holding the photo is a Plumber of 35 years, Byron Davies. He knows the Fryer family and for him, ensuring Aaron is remembered 10 years on from his tragic death, is deeply personal.
Just five weeks into his Plumbing Apprenticeship in Sydney 2012, Aaron died when he was struck by an unsecured excavator bucket.
It was later revealed in Court not only had the operator failed to insert the safety pin in the quick hitch to prevent the bucket coming loose, but that this was common practice to save time.
Every Memorial Day, on 28 April, Byron and his fellow workers in conjunction with the site Safety Committee stand with Aaron - and share Aaron’s story.
Ten years on, Aaron remains one of the youngest to die on a construction site in Australia and his face is a powerful reminder that young and inexperienced workers need to be looked after and supervised.
All Apprentices are easily identified by their green hard hat on site.
Lendlease Applauded for Green Hat Initiative
In an industry first, Lendlease have introduced the use of green hard hats on the Tweed Hospital site – one of the largest projects in New South Wales.
Ian and Justine Fryer applaud the move and want to see the initiative rolled out Australia-wide.
Aaron’s motorcycle racing colour was green, so the poignancy of the initiative is not lost on them.
It is their wish that Green Hats for Aaron be part of Site Induction – believing that his
story will save young lives.
Industry officials back the move including Plumbers’ Union Representative Luke Barden who says; “the time has well and truly come for significant and purposeful changes that can give some meaning to Aaron’s senseless and avoidable death.”
Retired Workcover Trainer and TAFE teacher of more than 30 years, Ian Anderson agrees:
‘It is vital that we can easily identify our most vulnerable on-site; see if they are supervised and if they are in an unsafe environment.
‘There are huge benefits being able to quickly identify young, inexperienced workers on building sites and I have no doubt that had Aaron been wearing a green hat, he may still be alive today.
‘As a trainer, I can see how talking about Aaron’s story and wearing green hard hats would be hugely beneficial in saving young lives.”
Lendlease Safety Manager, Matthew Smith, says that while not all Lendlease sites have implemented the green hats policy, he can see the benefits and hopes to see more sites taking up the initiative.