Pam Gurner-Hall, the devastated partner of 54-year-old Jorge Castillo-Riffo, said she felt “like I’m where I should have been two years ago” after Premier Jay Weatherill announced the inquest, a review of the state’s workplace laws and a review of a series of failed prosecutions into workplace deaths since 2010.
The announcement comes two months after the Government told Ms Gurner-Hall it had dropped all charges against lead contractor HYLC and Mr Castillo-Riffo’s employer SRG Building (Southern) for alleged workplace safety breaches.
Mr Castillo-Riffo was fatally crushed while working on a scissor lift in November 2014.
An emotional Ms Gurner-Hall said the 27-month fight for an inquest had “taken a lot of skin off me” and said her thoughts were with the families of other workers who had died on building sites who had been unable to get over the grief and fight as hard as she had.
Pam Gurner-Hall, the partner of Jorge Castillo-Riffo, listens as Premier Jay Weatherill addresses the rally over death of RAH construction worker Jorge Castillo-Riffo, on steps of Parliament House. Pam Gurner- Hall partner of Jorge listens to Premier Jay speak. Picture Greg Higgs 11/4/2017
“Can you imagine the families of Steve Wyatt or the guys who were killed at the desalination plant? It’s too long a process, it has to change,” she said.
Mr Wyatt was the second man killed at the new RAH worksite, dying in a scissor-lift accident in February 2016.
Speaking after a union rally calling for an investigation into Mr Castillo-Rizzo’s death, Ms Gurner-Hall said the coronial inquiry was a “really important factor” but said it should be the default response to any death on a worksite.
“It should automatically go to a coroner’s inquiry and there should automatically be prosecution of companies that are involved in the deaths of workers,” she said.
“It’s a no-brainer really. You’re talking about industrial manslaughter really, until it’s proven otherwise in lots of cases.”
The Advertiser has sought comment from HYLC and SRG Building.
Workers rally over death of new RAH construction worker Jorge Castillo-Riffo on the steps of Parliament House. Picture: Greg Higgs Source:News Limited