Attention Contractors – Tips to Hiring the Right Construction Professionals

construction worker

When it comes to success in the construction industry, much of it has to do with hiring the right people for the job. I found some tips on qualities to look for in employees here.

In addition to experience, skills qualification and other personal attributes that suit the company and vision, it is also important that employees in the construction sector are in possession of a White Card – this is a pre-requisite for work in the construction industry in Australia. Visit out homepage for more.

Falls from Flatbed Trucks and Trailers – WorkCover Safety Alert

The video below is the latest in a series of safety videos released by WorkCover NSW to educate workers and employers about common hazards and associated risks, which have resulted in a number of workplace injuries recently.

Watch the video below which addresses falls from flatbed trucks and trailers as this can happen when loading and unloading vehicles on the construction site.




Energy-efficient Super Home Goes up in Ten Days

10 day house

With modular construction gaining in popularity, one Perth builder has undertaken a project that will be a first for the city.

The “super-home” which is totally energy-efficient will go up in just 10 days.

Normally, 80 per cent of the build time in residential houses are spent on walls but because the panels for this home will be pre-constructed in a factory, it will take less than 2 weeks to go up.

Read more here.

Federal Budget Provides Welcomed Help to Tradies


Further good news for an already booming construction industry is the federal government’s dedication of $5.5 billion to help small businesses in the construction sector.

According to The Master Builders Association’s executive director Wilhelm Harnisch, changes that let tradespeople immediately write off assets up to $20,000 and boost productivity through tax cuts and overhauled capital equipment would boost business.

Recruitment companies have confirmed that construction tradespeople are in high demand in major centres as a result, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney. Find out more here.

Tasmanian Minister welcomes Reduction in Workplace Injuries

We seldom hear good news when it comes to workplace health and safety, so it is encouraging to hear that the Tasmanian Minister has praised the reduction in workplace injuries in the state.

Tasmania’s Workplace Relations Minister says that workplace injury statistics prove that the many efforts of the government such as safety messages are making a positive impact.

Apparently the number of workplace injuries have dropped to an all-time low to below 9000 in 2012 as compared to previous years.

David O’Byrne announced the record low numbers at the launch on WorkSafe Tasmania month. He said that for the first time in history the number of injuries have dropped below 9000 in the state. He attributed the decline to a combination of factors including everyone working together to improve safety. Considerable effort has been put in by state government, workplace safety authorities, employers and employees who have all played a part in reducing the number of injuries among workers.

Some of the factors that presumably have contributed to this improvement in workplace safety in Tasmania include sufficient training and supervision of staff, commitment to safety by employers and employees, this is important for all states who want to also experience the same kind of improvement.

The unions believe the decline in workplace injuries have a lot to do with tougher fines under new workplace laws.

An article on explained more about the latest injury figures,

Workplace Relations minister David O’Byrne says there were 8,934 injury reports last year, 378 fewer than the year before.

“For the first time we’ve dipped below 9,000 injuries per year,” he said.

Four Tasmanians have been killed at work in the past year.

New workplace laws came into effect this year.

Unions Tasmania’s Kevin Harkins says they are helping combat an alarming culture.

“Tight timeframes, tight profit margins…just pushing to get the job done,” he said.

But Mr Harkins says Tasmania is still the second worst performing state behind Queensland.

Most injuries and deaths occur in construction and farming jobs.

Read more:

There has been a 4 per cent drop in the number of Tasmanians being injured at work, a positive trend, but more still needs to be done. Although 4 per cent doesn’t seem that significant of a change, even one injury is one too many, so any improvement is welcome. Tasmania still has the second highest injury rate after Queensland and has a long way to go before it is on par with other states such as Victoria in workplace safety.

Although the government has implemented the mandatory national white card, aimed at encouraging uniform safety on construction sites across Oz, the construction industry is still showing some of the highest injury rates in the country.  While the construction industry is one of the most injury ridden, it is important that builders recognise the importance of training to reduce injuries and incidents on site.


Construction Hazards that Necessitate White Card Training

In addition to fulfilling a mandatory legal requirement, completing the white card course is important for construction workers to ensure they are familiar with the hazards presented by construction work.

Every site is different and some hazards may be present on one which aren’t present on another, that is precisely why general construction safety training is necessary, to ensure workers are educated on the most common hazards that exist whether or not they have come across the hazard before.

One of the hazards covered by general construction safety training, known as the white card is electrical hazards because this is one of the most common hazards that workers will be forced to contend with during building activities. Sadly the death toll due to electrical hazards is high especially on construction sites.

A common cause of injury and death on construction sites is electric shocks. Workers can be exposed to various hazards that may result in electrical shocks and workers need to be aware of all of them and how to control these hazards if necessary. That is why White Card training is so important.

One of those hazards is contact with overhead power lines. Accidental contact with live overhead power lines kills people and causes many serious injuries every year. People are also harmed when a person or object gets too close to a line and a flashover occurs. Work involving high vehicles or long equipment is particularly high risk.

All electrical hazards need to be identified before work begins and the risks associated with the hazards need to be addressed. Once the risk to workers is assessed, these hazards should be eliminated – this however is not always practicable. Activities associated with electrical shocks should be substituted with a less hazardous activity if possible and if not, the risk associated with them should be minimised. Implementing the appropriate control measures to minimise the risks is vital to preventing worker injuries as is ensuring workers are efficiently trained on these hazards and control measures.

An incident which occurred recently is an example of why electrical hazards should be taken seriously on building sites and why safety training is so important. The accident happened when a man was electrocuted by power lines while working on the Pacific Palms network near Forster. The man was an employee of Essential Energy and died after he received an electric shock on Monday morning last week. The 47 year old man was engaged in work around 10:30am on Monday when the accident occurred. Although emergency personnel rushed to the scene to administer first aid the man could not be revived.

An article on went on to explain:

“Our deepest condolences are with the family, loved ones and work mates of our employee,” an Essential Energy spokesperson said in a statement on Monday.

Minister for Resources and Energy Chris Hartcher said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of the death.

“My thoughts go out to the employee’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time,” he said in a statement.

Essential Energy is working with NSW Police and WorkCover to determine the circumstances surrounding the man’s death.

Read more:


Safety Awareness during High-risk Construction Work

Quite often workers involved in high risk construction aren’t aware of the severity of the risks associated with the work they are undertaking and this can fuel an attitude of complacency, which in turn can lead to accidents on the construction site, accidents which can cost workers their lives or in the least cause them painful and inconvenient injuries.

High risk construction work is labelled “high risk” for a reason and it is important that workers are properly trained and certified to carry out certain high risk tasks.

Firstly workers need to understand what constitutes “high risk” construction work and what is required of them in these circumstances.

According to WorkCover NSW, high risk construction work is any hazardous construction work that has the potential to harm the health and safety of people or to damage plant and equipment.

WorkCoverNSW describes high risk on their website as construction work which:

  • involving asbestos, explosives or diving work

  • carried out in an area in which there are artificial extremes of temperature

  • involving a risk of falling more than two metres or is carried out on a telecommunication tower.

  • including building or demolition work involving:

  • tilt-up or precast concrete

  • structural alterations or repairs to a structure that requires temporary support to prevent collapse

  • the demolition of a load bearing part of a structure

  • the demolition of any part of a structure that is likely to affect its physical integrity.


Some construction work is classified as high risk simply because of where it is carried out. For example work in or near a confined space, shaft or trench with a depth of more than 1.5 metres or a tunnel is high risk.  WorkCover NSW also provides a list of other environments that can be classified as a high risk environment:

  • pressurised gas distribution mains or piping

  • chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines

  • energised electrical installations or services

  • area where there are artificial extremes of temperature

  • area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere

  • road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor that is in use by traffic other than pedestrians

  • area at a workplace in which there is any movement of powered mobile plant

  • water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning.

It is important that those in control of the site are aware of what activities are high risk because a safe work method statement (SWMS) must be prepared for all high risk construction work. If a SWMS is not developed, accidents can occur and the company is likely to be fined and/or prosecuted by authorities.

A common cause of accidents on construction sites is falls from heights. It is compulsory that any work from a height above 2 metres has a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is prepared because it too is classified as “high risk”.

It is also important that all workers on site have completed construction safety induction training, because this training covers general construction safety and touches on a number high risk construction tasks which workers need to be familiar with.


Importance of General Construction Induction Training

One of the most important aspects of construction site safety is training. Having the best safety controls in place is pointless if workers aren’t aware of the hazards that work in the building industry can present, it’s like going into a battle unarmed because the hazards presented by construction work can be overwhelming to the untrained.

There are 2 main types of training that are mandatory for all workers in the building industry and they complement each other. The first form of training is The White Card course which is a comprehensive and informative course covering the most common hazards that work in the construction sector presents. The second is site specific and relates only to the hazards present on the specific work site.

The White Card Course is important because it is the foundation that workers in the construction industry need before they even begin work on any site regardless of the hazards it presents.

Now the White Card Course is national which means that once workers complete the course, they can work on any construction site anywhere in Oz. It also means that safety controls are more universal and that workers have a common and unified idea of how to control hazards on the building site. So it’s not only good for workers, it’s good for employers and for the construction industry in general.

For more information on the White Card Course or how you can complete it online, visit our homepage today.