The Gunning man killed in a workplace incident in Canberra a fortnight ago has saved three lives by donating his organs, the man's brother said.
Denis Booth will bury his brother Michael Booth in Gunning next to his father, today. The lungs and kidneys of Michael were harvested after the 48-year-old allegedly suffered an electric shock while driving a truck at a worksite in Turner on March 23.
He had been working for Kenoss Contractors at the construction site when his truck came into contact with overhead power lines. He was found lying by his truck after the incident and was transferred from Calvary Hospital to St George Hospital in Kogarah, where he died on March 28.
The Transport Workers Association said Mr Booth was a hard worker who had been working for a contracting company for nine months. ACT branch secretary Klaus Pinkas said Kenoss Contractors had been involved in discussions regarding a $10,000 donation to Mr Booth's family.
Mr Booth said his brother's gift would stop three other families from having to plan funerals.
“There is nothing nice about his accident but the one light is that he was an organ donor,” Mr Booth said. “He was an organ donor but I didn't know that and they asked me if I wanted to support his wishes. I thought if that was his wish I'll have to support it. So I did.”
About 1200 Australians are waiting for organs. More than 100 die each year before a donor organ becomes available. Only 2 per cent of Australians die in a manner which makes organ donation possible.
Mr Booth said he would not have closure until an investigation into his brother's death was complete.
“I joined the navy in 1968 when he was four… We didn't grow up together but he was my brother,” Mr Booth said.
He said goodbye to him in a Sydney hospital when doctors told him there was no hope.
“On Wednesday his heart gave out so he was on life support to harvest his organs… He did a marvellous thing. Just marvellous. I think it's outstanding.”
Mr Booth's death is being investigated by ACT Workcover. Commissioner Mark McCabe said construction workers were more likely to be injured at work than other professions.
“I can't talk about the specifics of this case but no one should have to worry their loved one won't come home from work, but construction workers' families have to wonder,” Mr McCabe said. “Public servants, even journalists, are far less likely to die in workplace accidents.”
The Master Builders Association said the tragic death would force the industry to re-evaluate safety on construction sites. The organisation plans to launch an initiative next month aimed at lifting safety awareness on worksites.
It is the second workplace accident in the construction industry within a matter of months. Yass man Wayne Vickery, 45, died just before Christmas last year, leaving behind his wife and two children. He was the victim of a workplace accident at a West Macgregor building site when he was crushed by a road grader.