Family of young Sydney tradie killed on the job make desperate plea

The family of a Sydney teenager crushed at a Macquarie Park construction site in April 2019 have renewed calls for authorities to come down hard on unsafe workplace practices.

When scaffolding overloaded with 18 tonnes of material collapsed on top of Christopher Cassaniti, 18, Ganellen Construction was fined $900,000 — a penalty they didn’t pay because it was covered by insurance.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Parents’ plea for after son’s tragic death finally heard after four years.

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When the company was found liable for Christopher’s death, a judge commented that the likelihood of what happened was so high, it was almost certain.

NSW Fair Trading later cancelled the company’s contractor licence and permanently disqualified it from operating, and the company’s director also received a 10-year disqualification.

But Christopher’s mother, Patrizia Cassanti, said on Wednesday: “We need consequences for people to stop doing unsafe practices.”

It echoes the desperate plea her family has been making for years.

“This anger would consume me if I didn’t do what I do,” she said.

“We don’t want his death to go in vain,” Christopher’s father Rob Cassanti added.

Patrizia previously told “Industrial manslaughter is obviously one of my biggest agendas.”

Now, NSW, the only mainland state without industrial manslaughter laws, is about to introduce them.

The new laws will mean a corporation can be held liable for the death of a person caused by their employees within the scope of their work.

The state government intends to introduce a bill to parliament in the first half of next year, following further consultation.

Similar laws passed by the ACT in 2021 carry a potential 20-year jail term for individuals and a $16.5 million penalty for corporations.

Christopher Cassanti was crushed to death at a Sydney construction site when scaffolding overloaded with 18 tonnes of material collapsed. Credit: 7NEWS
Christopher’s parents have spent the four years following his death campaigning for industrial manslaughter laws set to be introduced next year. Credit: 7NEWS

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey said the change is well overdue.

“Workers’ lives aren’t a commodity, and this law sends a clear message — if you neglect your duty of care to your employees, there are severe consequences,” he said.

SafeWork will begin an extensive consultation process including work health and safety experts, business groups, unions, legal stakeholders and families of people who have been killed at work.

Work Health and Safety Minister Sophie Cotsis says she hopes the penalties act as such a strong deterrent that no one ever needs to be prosecuted.

“We must prevent fatal injuries in the workplace,” Cotsis said.

“These penalties acknowledge the significant pain and suffering of families and loved ones of workers who have died in preventable workplace incidents.”

Up to 263 workers lost their lives on the job in NSW — more than any other state — in the five years leading to 2022, Unions NSW said.

– With AAP

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