NSW Construction Safety Blitz Yields Promising Results

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The 12 month construction blitz conducted by SafeWork inspectors in NSW has been hailed as a success following 1258 notices being issued and 186 small businesses receiving rebates.

The blitz was aimed at reducing work from heights.

According to SafeWork NSW Executive Director, Tony Williams 1000 sites were visited, prompted by 9 workplace deaths in the state in 2017.  Alot more people were injured on construction sites due to falls from heights.

“Falls from heights is the number one killer on construction sites. We undertook a concentrated education campaign for tradies and provided rebates for small business,”

“Since the start of the blitz, we have given more than $86,000 of rebates to 186 small businesses to help them work safely at heights.

“While inspectors have observed troubling levels of non-compliance, they are working with employers to educate them and taking enforcement action where needed, including issuing on-the-spot fines. Williams explained.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/nsw-construction-safety-blitz-results-improved-safety/#.XBuR6s0lE1k

Mr Williams said inspectors issued 1258 notices to stop or improve work processes and 93 on-the-spot fines when the falls risk to workers was imminent or serious, and for repeat offender workplaces.

Since the start of the safety blitz, inspectors say they have seen an improvement of up to 9 per cent in compliance relating to work from height such as scaffolds, formwork, ladders, safety planning documents, site inductions, and toolbox talks. Mr Williams said the construction industry still has a long way to go to secure safety.

“Over the next two years, SafeWork will continue to work on those areas of highest risk in the construction industry. This includes working on roofs, ladders and non-compliant scaffolds, as part of a broader falls from heights action plan SafeWork NSW is releasing today,” Mr. Williams said.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/12/nsw-construction-safety-blitz-results-improved-safety/#.XBuR6s0lE1k

More information on  the construction safety blitz and falls from heights action plan can be viewed at www.safework.nsw.gov.

Construction Safety Update for 2019

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So far in January (January 24, 2019) according to Safe Work Australia, there have been 5 workplace fatalities in Australia.

In 2018, there were 152 workers killed at work, an improvement from the previous year when 190 workers were killed on the job.

Of the 5 workers killed in 2019, 2 were from the construction industry, as compared to last year this time when only 1 construction worker had died on the job. The agriculture, fishing and forestry industry was responsible for 2 deaths this year as well, with the transport industry claiming one life.

For the construction industry, we haven’t had a very good start to the year however it’s not too late to make a change. There’s still time to turn things around and make safety the first priority, beginning with construction safety training.

Read more at https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/statistics-and-research/statistics/fatalities/fatality-statistics

The Workers Risking their Lives to Build India’s Homes

The risks being taken by workers in India to build the country’s homes, infrastructure and commercial buildings recently came under the spotlight in an article on BBC.com.

The post mentioned a number of workers including Mr Hasan, a construction worker who fell to his death at a site near Delhi. He should have been wearing a harness, a protective helmet, boots with a firm grip and should have an insurance policy against accidents.

Despite it being legally required for construction firms to provide these things to workers, most construction companies simply don’t.

In India many firms don’t follow the rules in order to save money and instead risk lives.

The post mentions 5 other workers who died in a similar manner to Mr Hasan and dozens more were seriously injured.

Unfortunately workers have no choice but to work under these conditions despite their fears because they need the work.

Read the full article at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-46698626

Worker Dies after being Electrocuted on Roof

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A fatal workplace electrocution has taken place in Melbourne’s outer-west at a house in Plumpton.

A 19 year old man died after being electrocuted while working on the roof of a house. The man was installing an air-conditioner on the roof of a 2 storey home when the electrocution occurred.

Not much more is known about the incident but WorkSafe is investigating.

This death brings the total to 3 workers who have been killed at work since the start of the year.

Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/victorian-worker-electrocuted-roof/#.XFgOEM0lHQV

Civil Construction Firm Charged over Worker Trench Deaths

While charges, fines and prosecutions aren’t the most serious consequences of workplace incidents such as trench collapses, (the human cost is much higher) they hopefully do serve as a deterrent for others to avoid similar mistakes that can have such as tragically high cost of human life.

One such incident involved the deaths of 2 workers who died in Ballarat last year when a trench collapsed. The civil construction company involved has since been charged with breaches of section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company is accused of failing to maintain the battering or benching of the excavation and failure to use trench shields and manhole cages to avoid the risk of engulfment. It also failed to provide workers with supervision.

The incident took place in March 2018 when the 2 workers were laying pipe in the trench at a housing development site. One worker, a 34 year old died on the scene while the other worker, a 21 year old man died in the hospital shortly afterwards.

The court case is ongoing.

See more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/01/civil-construction-company-charged-two-workers-death/#.XFggqs0lHQV

Coroner Hands Down Findings on Ben Catanzariti Workplace Death

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The coroner has handed down his findings on the workplace death of Ben Catanzariti in 2012.

The accident took place 6 years ago on an ACT construction site.

Recently findings in the long awaited inquest were handed down in the ACT Coroner’s Court.

The coroner said based on the evidence that it was not possible to say what caused the bolts to fail that led to the young worker’s death.

The findings are similar to those reached by prosecutors years ago who dropped a criminal prosecution of the company involved following multiple reports suggesting various reasons of why the boom failed, hitting 3 workers, one of whom was Ben Catanzariti.

Hungover Worker Rescued After Becoming Trapped on a Construction Site

A night of excess has landed one construction worker in a very tight spot. The man fell into a crevasse between 2 buildings on a construction site in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.

The 41 year old intoxicated man was discovered by construction workers when they arrived on the site. They found the man fast asleep.

Emergency services rigged a pulley system so that a firefighter and a paramedic could help the man, who was brought up in a harness. He had no major injuries.

Due to the intoxication he had no memory of falling between the gap.

Find out more at https://www.9news.com.au/2019/02/28/15/31/fortitude-valley-drunk-man-fall-construction-site-asleep-brisbane

Man Crushed on Darwin Worksite

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A man has died in a workplace accident in the Northern Territory.

The 30 year old man was crushed to death by machinery at a site in Darwin.

Northern Territory Police said the incident appeared to be a tragic accident but together with NT WorkSafe, they would be investigating.

The 30 year old victim hails from Katherine.

Investigators assessed an excavator loaded into the back of a truck with crime scene tape still around the area.

Source: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-29/man-28-dies-killed-dead-worksite-machinery-crushed-darwin/11056408

WorkSafe Investigating Fatal Roof Fall Incident in Victoria

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A man has been killed in central Victoria after falling from a roof.

The man, believed to be in his 60s, fell from a roof and became impaled on a metal picket.

The man was working with another on a verandah roof in Neilborough, near Bendigo when the fall took place.

The cause of the fall is not yet known however WorkSafe is investigating.

This is another example of the horrific consequences of a lack of fall protection. Ensure that even when working from a perceived ‘low’ height, the proper fall prevention and fall protection controls are implemented and utilised.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/man-dies-fall-roof-central-victoria/#.XNlk3KQlE1l

ACT Construction Overhaul Delayed by Search for Qualified Staff

According to the ACT’s planning minister Mick Gentleman, an overhaul of the state’s construction industry which was due to be finished at the end of last financial year will not be completed until 2020.

The suite of reforms announced in 2016 targeted “phoenixing” in particular, referring to the practice by dodgy builders of liquidating their assets and restarting under a new identity to avoid paying their creditors.

Among other things, the reforms also create new minimum standards, compliance measures and licensing standards for builders and certifiers.

The reforms are expected to be complete by the end of the Government’s term, in 2020.

See more at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-07/act-government-misses-deadline-on-construction-industry-reforms/10472828