Tasmanian unionists are vowing to spend more time on building sites after the second workplace death in less than a year.

A 32-year-old South Arm man has died after being crushed by a one-tonne steel beam at the McRobie's Gully tip.

Emergency services were called to the site in South Hobart about 10:45am on Tuesday.

The man was pile driving at the site of the tip's new waste transfer station.

Inspector Glen Woolley says the man left an excavator to direct a steel beam into a hole.

"The beam has started to swing uncontrollably in the air, it's hit him on the head as it has swung around," he said.

"It has then actually come away from the excavator and rolled onto his chest.

"The work around the waste transfer station has ceased, the area has been declared to be a crime scene until such time as we've undertaken all our inquiries.

"We're currently working alongside with Workplace Standards."

Other workers tried to administer first aid but the man died a short time later in hospital.

Unions Tasmania says the death can only be described as an absolute tragedy.

Spokesman Kevin Harkins says it is a shock to everyone in the construction industry.

He says delegates will begin site inspections to ensure they are safe.

"We've been to meet representatives of the minister and Workplace Standards Tasmania on numerous occasions, voicing concerns about health and safety in the construction industry and apparently that's to no avail," he said.

"We haven't seen any extra activity in the industry, we haven't seen any improvement, so what the unions are going to do is start taking responsibility."

Workplace Relations Minister David O'Byrne has defended the state's safety record, but says there is always more that can be done.

"We meet regularly with unions and employers to ensure that the laws that we have in place and the supporting resources that we have allocated across the state are appropriate," he said.

"I think when you look at over the last, I think it's 10 or 11 years, there's been a significant decrease in workplace injuries and fatalities."

Mick Connolly from Hutchinson Constructions says his company's policies exceed Tasmanian workplace safety laws, but there is room for higher standards.

"A construction site generally is dangerous and so you think it's, even the fitting out of a building when you think it's safe, it's always dangerous and it always has to be treated with great care," he said.

It is the second construction workplace death in six months.

Last August, a 20-year-old Launceston man died when he fell through a roof onto a concrete slab at the Devonport Homemaker Centre construction site.

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