Vic Employers Urged to Prioritise Safety

worksafe victoria

WorkSafe Victoria is calling on employers to ensure the health and safety of their employees after 5 workers lost their lives on the job in the state, in recent weeks.

Marnie Williams, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety reminded employers that all workers should be able to return home safely at the end of the day after 5 families lost loved ones in just 9 days.

In the lead up to Christmas, a time normally marked by workplace accidents Williams urged employers to be vigilant and keep workers safe.

The latest fatality involved a 64-year-old contractor was killed in an explosion at a housing development site at Harkaway in Melbourne’s outer east.



White Card Update: Danger of Slips, Trips and Falls – Is Your Workplace Safe?

While accidents can occur in any workplace, construction sites are particular susceptible to slips, trips and falls due to the large number of potential hazards on site. Slip and fall hazards are one of the most commonly identified hazards that are dealt with at some length in the OHS White Card course at

Some of the injuries associated with slips, trips and falls include cuts, sprains, fractures, spinal injury and strains to name a few. As numerous as the possible injuries are the hazards that contribute to these injuries. By paying attention to these hazards, it is possible to reduce the risk involved.

Factors that contribute to slips, trips and falls include wet or oily floors, uneven or slippery surfaces or slopes.

Other areas of concern are working on ladders, working from heights, stairs, areas with bad lighting, working near trenches or pits. Vigilance is necessary when working with any of these.

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Slips especially occur when shoes lose their grip on the floor. Whether a substance is spilled on the floor or an object is left on the floor that causes a fall, a loss of balance is the result.


Working with ladders can be dangerous when not used safely. Ladders should be used specifically for its task, don’t improvise, follow the rules. Accidents do occur and you may injure yourself or co-workers and be held responsible. Some guidelines regarding ladders include, not placing ladders in front of doors or allowing more than one person on at a time. Another important point to remember is to not climb higher than the third rung from the top of a straight ladder or the second rung from the top of a step ladder.


Another falling risk is the presence of trenches or pits on site. By falling into a trench or pit, workers can be seriously injured. While most deaths in trenches are caused by cave-ins, falls could also be hazardous. Fences, barricades, guardrails and appropriate warning signs must accompany trenches or pits. According to OHS law, employees must be trained about working near trench and other construction site hazards.


Falling from heights could also be critical. When working on scaffolding or a rooftop, workers need to be cautious. Regulation requires an approved safety system should be implemented, including guardrails, scaffolding and fall protection. If these measures do not sufficiently reduce the risk workers should be equipped with proper safety harnesses.

According to statistics trips most often occur due to uneven floor surface or obstacles on floors for example cables or tools, or loose tiles or foreign objects on floors. Good housekeeping is vital to ensure floors are kept clear of obstructions and possible tripping hazards. It is also important to make sure floors are free from holes, uneven surfaces or obstacles.

Smaller details that are often ignored also need to be attended to when identifying hazards. Such as appropriateness of footwear. Footwear on site needs to be suitable for the type of work and environment. A non-slip sole and appropriate tread is needed to ensure proper grip between the floor surface and footwear. Lighting is also often ignored and contributes to accidents on site. Poor lighting and distractions can impact a person’s awareness of their surroundings, including possible slipping or falling hazards in their path.

As an employee you can assist by keeping floors clean and clear of obstructions, dealing with spills or accidents immediately, barricading or placing warning signs around potential hazard areas, avoiding trailing cables, cords, pipes or other equipment across the walkway.

Workers need to have a thorough understanding of slips, trips and falls hazards and how these hazards can be managed and hopefully minimised. Staff should be trained on how to control hazards and avoid injury, including proper reporting procedures.

As a worker, you have a duty to take care of your own safety as well as that of your co-workers. Workers need to continually assess the situation to assure they are not putting themselves or others at risk. Compliance with safe work practice and cooperation with your employer is crucial in this regard.

If you feel your workplace does not comply with proper safety regulations or place you or your co-workers at risk report it immediately before it’s too late.

Other rules and guidelines would have been made available to you during your induction training. If you have not received your training and are working on a construction site you are doing so illegally. To rectify the situation complete your online white card course today.

Posted by Steven Asnicar

Construction Safety: Basic Responsibilities of Employers

As an employer you have a responsibility to workers and contractors to ensure a safe and healthy workplace. Due to the high risk involved with construction work employers need to be especially vigilant to ensure workplace safety procedures are put in place and enforced.

Employers need to make sure workers have adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to work in a safe and healthy manner on a construction site. Employers also need to ensure risks are managed and inexperienced employees are sufficiently supervised in order to reduce the risk involved with construction work.

construction safety white card

The basic duties of employers to ensure safety on the construction site are:

Control risk

As an employer you have to identify risks in order to manage them. The motto “to be forewarned is to be forearmed is especially relevant here, because by identifying risks, you can plan the appropriate procedures to manage these risks and reduce the hazards associated with them.

Construction work in general involves a multitude of potential risks, but each job involves its own risks and these need to be dealt with individually.

If you are not able to eliminate risk, you need to attempt to minimise it. This can be done by:

–        Substituting the hazard with a less dangerous activity. If the hazard cannot be eliminated, it should be isolated from people. Warning signs are particularly useful in identifying areas that workers should be wary of. Fencing is also required to guard certain hazards, such as heavy machinery, forklift operation areas etc.

–        Employers also need to provide protection for employees in the form of personal protective equipment. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is any clothing, equipment or substance designed to protect a person from risks of injury or illness. These include ear muffs, ear plugs, goggles, safety helmets, hats, gloves, safety boots etc.

–        As an employer you will also need to review risk controls regularly and keep a record each time it is reviewed.

–        Employees can be helpful in identifying risks as they have first hand experience of potential hazards. Health and safety representatives should also be consulted when identifying hazards and developing control measures.

Prepare a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)

Employers have a responsibility to prepare a SWMS prior to high-risk construction. You also have the responsibility of ensuring that employees and contractors comply with the instructions in the SWMS. The SWMS needs to be reviewed if things on site change. SWMS are developed for activities undertaken by workers onsite which identify the hazards associated with a work activity. SWMS assess the risk of these hazards and outline the preventative measures to be implemented.

It is essential for employees to be involved in the planning and development of the SWMS as it is the primary source of documented OHS guidance for them.

An SWMS is a document that lists the types of high-risk construction work being done, states the health and safety hazards and risks, describes how the risks will be controlled and describes how the risk control measures will be put in place.

Provide Site-specific training

Employees need to be instructed on site specific safety measures and procedures, through a site induction. This will vary depending on the site and its unique circumstances, familiarising workers with OHS rules of the site. Information contained in the SWMS include emergency procedures, identification of health and safety representatives etc.

Provide induction training

The most crucial responsibility of employers is to ensure workers receive the proper construction induction training.

Workers need to have completed their white card induction training before they can work on a construction site in Australia.

By following this step employers can drastically enhance safety on their sites as this course will equip workers with all the necessary safety knowledge, safe working procedures and hazard identification and reaction methods associated with construction work. White card training is affordable and easily attainable online and could mean the difference between life and death on a construction site.

Construction induction training aims to provide construction workers with knowledge and understanding of their rights and responsibilities, common risks and hazards associated with the construction industry, basic risk management procedures and expected behaviour for workers in an emergency situation. Employers must ensure that anyone employed to do construction work has completed the construction induction training before they start work, including apprentices, contractors and regular employees.

Posted by Steven Asnicar