A YOUNG man was fighting for his life in hospital after falling through a roof and landing on a steel beam at the Steel River industrial estate on Thursday.
Authorities want answers after the 20-year-old suffered a serious head injury after falling through a hole in the roof at a McIntosh Drive recycling facility in Mayfield West shortly after 10.30am.
The man is a contractor and was working on a section of fire-damaged roof at Benedict Recycling.
The Newcastle Herald has been told by those who were at the scene the man may have stepped back into a hole in the roof.
He fell about six metres onto a steel beam that supports the facility's crane equipment.
Paramedics said workers used a forklift to winch the man onto a rubbish pile where emergency services, including the Newcastle police rescue squad, were able to bring him to safety.
“Upon arrival, paramedics observed that the man was unconscious and breathing with an open head wound, which they quickly bandaged,” NSW Ambulance Inspector Jeff Atkins said.
“Paramedics subsequently intubated the patient and provided him with advanced pain relief. I'd like to acknowledge the quick-thinking by this man's colleagues on scene which allowed paramedics to treat him in a timely fashion.”
SafeWork NSW was notified and by the afternoon had started an investigation into the roofing contractor.
The contractor was ordered to stop work.
“SafeWork NSW has issued a prohibition notice to the roofing contractor to cease work until its fall prevention systems are improved,” a spokesman said.
The man was rushed to John Hunter Hospital in a serious condition.
Hunter New England Health said his condition deteriorated to critical on Thursday afternoon.
Benedict Recycling general manager Ian Collier said the company would assist SafeWork NSW with its investigation.
“Our hearts go out to the young man and his family,” he said.
“It’s a very upsetting event and we will do everything we can to assist SafeWork.
“The safety of our people is paramount and we will be looking after the wellbeing of those who went to his aid as well.”
More than 60 firefighters responded to a blaze at Benedict Recycling in December.
There was also a separate fire in September.