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Date PostedAugust 22, 2012

South Australian Government to fast-track building work

The government of South Australian has announced plans to fast track current building projects in efforts to boost the construction revenue generated in the state. The question remains, what will the safety consequences of this action be?

The Heraldsun.com.au reported on the governments plans:

THE South Australian government is to fast-track building projects worth more than $20 million to provide a boost to the state’s construction sector.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the projects would be intensively case managed to cut through red tape and bring them on quicker to help the industry through a difficult period.

“This won’t alter our existing planning, environmental and safety approvals system, which is the best in the nation,” Mr Weatherill said on Monday.

“But there is a sense of urgency about the circumstances of the building and construction sector.

“That’s why we are taking this extraordinary step to ensure that our construction industry is supported.”

Mr Weatherill said maintaining an infrastructure spending program in the state budget was also part of the government’s support for the construction sector.

Source: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/sa-govt-to-fast-track-building-work/story-e6frf7kf-1226444122635

An incident that occurred this week highlighted the danger of working on construction sites and the need for greater attention to safety. A young apprentice lost his life when he fell from a height. The young worker was identified as Leigh Anthony Reaney and was just 20 years old.

This post on The Advocate.com.au has a detailed report:

A 20-YEAR-OLD man injured in a workplace accident at the Devonport homemaker centre site on Monday has died.

Police confirmed Leigh Anthony Reaney, of Launceston, died yesterday afternoon following a 4.5-metre fall from a roof at the Stony Rise construction site about 1.40pm on Monday.

The apprentice roofing contractor fell onto a concrete slab below. His workmates rushed to help and assisted him until ambulance paramedics arrived.

He was taken by ambulance to the Mersey Community Hospital at Latrobe and then airlifted to the Royal Hobart Hospital in a critical condition, where he died from his injuries yesterday.

Workplace Standards and police were at the Fairbrother-operated site on Monday afternoon and again yesterday.

Workplace Standards general manager Roy Ormerod said the man was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and a harness, but his harness was not connected to a secure line.

“One of the things we’re investigating is why wasn’t the harness attached,” Mr Ormerod said.

He said the cause of the accident was still under investigation, but Mr Reaney fell through a sump, or a large box covered with sheet metal that directs water from the guttering to the down pipe.

“That wasn’t secured properly, but then it’s probably not designed to take his weight anyway. We have to ascertain if it’s risky behaviour or negligence and prepare a report for the coroner on causation.”

Fairbrother CEO Craig Edmunds issued a statement from the company yesterday and said the thoughts and wishes of the entire Fairbrother team were with the young man’s family, friends and workmates at this very difficult time.

“All of our people and our subcontract partners have been shaken by this terrible news,” Mr Edmunds said.

“Fairbrother is cooperating fully with Workplace Standards Tasmania and the police, who are conducting investigations and inquiries into this tragic incident. As this matter is now the subject of a formal investigation, the company is unable to provide further comment at this stage.”

Source: http://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/182015/site-apprentice-dies-from-fall/?cs=87

Although the worker was wearing the appropriate PPE, the equipment was not properly utilised which led to its ineffectiveness in preventing the workers death. The actual cause of the fall is however still under investigation, however it is likely to be either risky behaviour or negligence.

In general fall protection concerning safety harnesses involves three basic elements, each of which are equally important, they are the safety harness, the lanyard and the anchor point. Each one of these elements needs to be working as if any of these elements fail the entire system fails and a worker can be seriousness injured or killed.

 A good fall protection plan is not as simple as putting on a safety harness and going to work. Training is needed to ensure it is being effectively used to minimise the risk of injury or as in this case death.

Posted by Steven Asnicar

 

Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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