WorkSafe probes fatal Curtin roof collapse

An investigation into a fatal building collapse at Perth's Curtin University is continuing.
An investigation into a fatal building collapse at Perth's Curtin University is continuing.

Investigators have reassembled the roof of a building at Perth's Curtin University that collapsed in October, killing an apprentice construction worker and injuring two others.

The work is being carried out by WorkSafe at a site in Welshpool, southeast of Perth, to help determine what caused the collapse.

Jonnie Hartshorn, 23, died after falling more than 20 metres when a metal structure supporting the glass roof of the building caved in.

Another man, aged 26, fell 20 metres and underwent life-saving surgery at Royal Perth Hospital.

A third worker inside the building at the university's Bentley campus was also injured after falling about 10 metres.

West Australian police and emergency crews retrieved Mr Hartshorn's body after using specialised equipment and calling in engineers to declare the building safe to enter.

A major investigation is underway into what WorkSafe Commissioner Darren Kavanagh described as a "catastrophic failure".

WorkSafe's investigations team has recently been expanded in a $12.9 million investment by the McGowan government.

"The Curtin University accident was a terrible event, and I hope that the reassembling of this roof will help investigators find the cause of the roof's failure and provide much-needed answers," industrial relations minister Bill Johnston said on Thursday.

"We expect the expanded and improved investigative team will bring a higher value of service and help improve workplace safety and health practices throughout WA."

The building will house Curtin's new architecture school.

Construction began in 2019 and was due to be completed next year.

CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan said he had been made aware of issues with "deflection in the structural steel".

Mr Hartshorn worked for ABS Facade, a commercial cladding installation and glazing company. The head contractor Lend Lease said it was "deeply saddened" by the incident.

WA's parliament last month passed industrial manslaughter laws which will enforce a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for workplace deaths.

Australian Associated Press