The man who was crushed to death by a large steel beam at a Sydney Harbour construction site yesterday leaves behind a 14-month-old son and a wife who is three months pregnant.

Timothy Macpherson, aged in his 30s, died instantly after a metal beam fell on his torso while he was working on a barge in the water at Barangaroo about 4.40pm yesterday.

He was in the process of building a new home in his hometown of Newcastle for his growing family - his wife Ashleigh, who is expecting their second child, and their son Jack.

Work at the Barangaroo construction site was called off today, as the events leading to his death continue to be investigated by SafeWork NSW and NSW Police.


Macpherson was working as a rigger as part of a construction site for the Barangaroo Ferry Hub.

Police on the scene where Timothy Macpherson was crushed by a falling beam. Photo / News Corp
Police on the scene where Timothy Macpherson was crushed by a falling beam. Photo / News Corp

CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union )state secretary Brian Parker told The Daily Telegraph has been liaising with the victim's family to seek answers for how the tragic event could have happened at the worksite.

"We've pointed out to the government, to the hierarchy, the Transport NSW that the family should be considered to be brought down here to see where Tim died to deal with the grieving process," Parker said.

"We have asked them to have some financial relief, because the family has lost the breadwinner and there is a coroner's inquiry. They've still got to deal week to week, month to month, as this goes on."

Parker said workers had been interviewed and those who witnessed the accident are being offered counselling and support.

The crane driver underwent mandatory blood and urine testing.

"They're very distraught. These guys work with each other for long hours together each week and some of them know each other better than they know their own families and friends," Parker said.

"One of them, who witnessed the whole thing, was particularly upset and spent the whole night speaking to police about the incident."

Macpherson's family visited him at the site in recent weeks, Parker said.

It is understood Macpherson had been on the site for six months and was hired through a labour hire company.

It is not yet clear how the accident happened but it is understood the man was helping a crane driver move the two-to-four tonne metal beam when it swung into another, causing one to fall on him.

There have been at least 1500 accidents or injuries at the Barangaroo site in recent years, Parker said, with yesterday's incident the first fatal one.

Parker also raised concerns about the rising number of workplace-related deaths across NSW, saying the recent introduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was restricting union officials from entering workplace sites.

"If we're not allowed to get into these sites then we can't spot potential hazards and there could also be a significant number of unreported incidents taking place," Parker said.

NSW Infrastructure minister Andrew Constance has offered his condolences to the man's family and colleagues.

"In this horrific time for the man's family, friends and colleagues I would like to pass on my deepest sympathies and thoughts," he said in a statement.

"I trust our NSW government agencies will co-operate fully with all investigations into this very sad incident."

A SafeWork NSW spokesman said the area where the incident occurred was closed as they investigated the scene.

"SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation and it remains ongoing," the spokesman said.