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Airport Link worker remains in hospital

WORKSAFE WA will begin interviewing the co-workers of injured Forrestfield-Airport Link worker Joshua Butterworth as part of an investigation into an accident that left the New Zealand national in a critical condition last week.

The 25-year-old was in a stable condition on Sunday after being operated on for non-life-threatening head and facial injuries.

He is an employee of Italian company Salini Impregilo and Australian joint-venture partner NRW Limited (SI-NRW), working on the Forrestfield-Airport Link under contract to the Public Transport Authority.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said Mr Butterworth was working 20m below ground at the Airport Central construction site when he was hit by a flailing compressed air hose which had disconnected from a steel pipe.

“Work stopped immediately and the site was closed down,” Mr Hynes said.

“WorkSafe representatives attended and are investigating, as are SI-NRW and the PTA.”

Joshua’s father Terry Butterworth told media at Perth Airport on Tuesday that the family discovered their son was in hospital after being contacted by a workmate through social media. 

In a statement released on Monday, SI-NRW project director Richard Graham said family members had been contacted before their arrival in Perth.

“Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the injured worker and his family and we will provide all necessary support,” he said.

“Our priority, once we had the worker safely removed from site and in transit to hospital was to contact family members.  

“Unfortunately, our attempts through the emergency contact numbers on file were not successful, and we sought assistance from the Australian and New Zealand police departments to contact family members.” 

Joshua Butterworth has lived in Australia for about 10 years.

A WorkSafe WA spokeswoman said enquiries would take as long as needed for a thorough investigation.

Under normal procedures if the employer is found to have breached the Occupational Safety and Health Act or Regulations, WorkSafe can take the employer to court.  

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