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A woman heard screams of pain before a man was found dead at a neglected northern Sydney construction site that, according to a large union, has dodgy security fencing and inadequate safety warnings.
Emergency services found the 34-year-old Victorian man, who had fallen about five metres to his death, when they were called to the building site in Clarke Lane at Crows Nest about 6.30am (AEST) on Saturday.
The man had been out with his family, who found him lifeless on the ground and raised the alarm.
Investigators are linking the early morning death to misadventure.
Detectives and a WorkCover inspector were at the scene on Saturday afternoon assessing the spot, among building debris and concrete rubble, where the man fell to his death.
Kate Vanderfield, who lives across from the building site, said she heard loud male voices.
"About 6.15am I heard arguing, I heard a very aggressive guy swearing and blaspheming and everything," she said.
"Then I heard this other guy that was crying.
"About 6.30 I saw the ambulances down there so something must have happened."
Police, however, say there is no evidence of a domestic incident preceding the man's death.
Ms Vanderfield said she heard cried of pain and cries for help.
"At 6:15 I was thinking about ringing police but I looked down and saw the security guard that was there and he seemed to have everything under control," she said.
A Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) truck is parked outside the deserted building site and Ms Vanderfield said there's a union picket line near the site most days.
Police Inspector Craig Thorp said the man was not an employee working at the construction site or linked to the CFMEU.
But CFMEU officials have inspected the site, raising concerns about non-compliant fencing and inadequate safety warnings.
"It appeared site perimeter fencing was not erected to standard, gaps were visible in the fence line and there was no signage warning the public over accessing the construction site," CFMEU NSW secretary Brian Parker said.
"It is believed the man accessed the site and climbed onto machinery and fell to his death."
Construction of the residential and retail development on the site, which faces the Pacific Highway, stopped about five months ago and Mr Parker said the CFMEU held protests outside "over $25 million in unpaid debts owing to sub contractors."
"We would hope (the developer) has not taken shortcuts with its perimeter fencing and site security in a bid to cut costs," Mr Parker said.