A joint inspection blitz by WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW focusing on keeping young workers safe and reducing deadly falls in the Albury Wodonga region, is a reminder of the importance of keeping these young and inexperienced workers safe on the construction site.
Young workers are not only inexperienced but usually eager to please and naive to the potential risks on construction sites which often puts them at a greater risk. That is why inspectors from both safety agencies visited construction sites as part of the Cross Border Construction Program to help keep them injury free.
The program operates at three locations on the Victoria-NSW border annually helping construction employers learn more about the similarities and differences between work health and safety regulations in each state.
The prevention of falls on construction sites was the recent focus of a joint program by SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe Victoria in Mildura in June.
The Cross Border Construction Program involved inspectors jointly visiting local building sites on both sides of the border to minimise the risk of workers being injured due to falls.
Inspectors were identifying safety risks and breaches and highlighting the similarities and differences between regulations in the 2 states.
Falls are a serious issue for the construction sector. Over the past decade 17 construction workers died due to a fall in Victoria.
In NSW, falls are responsible for the most number of deaths on construction sites. In 2017 the NSW government introduced new laws giving SafeWork NSW inspectors power to issue penalty notices of $3600 to companies and $720 to individuals for fall from height related breaches.
Falls are just one of the health and safety issues that construction workers are faced with. In this high risk industry, it’s important that health and safety are the main priority.
One of the ways to ensure safety on construction sites is through worker training. Every worker must be adequately trained for the specific construction site and tasks they undertake but they must also be in possession of a White Card to prove they have completed general construction safety training as mandated by the federal government. Complete the White Card course online today and you are eligible to work on any construction site in Australia and across borders because the accreditation is nationally recognised.
SafeWork NSW has issued a safety alert reminding people working with vehicles of the risks associated with uncontrolled movement.
The alert was issued due to the high number of people being seriously injured and killed annually in the state as a result of uncontrolled movement, in other words, vehicles rolling away. Vehicles include cars, trucks, buses, vans, forklifts, tractors, mobile cranes and other construction vehicles.
Most incidents occurred when drivers were not in the operator’s seat.
The safety alert reminded people that the uncontrolled movement of vehicles can happen due to a singular reason or a combination of reasons which include,
operator not engaging the parking brake or engaging it insufficiently.
vehicle parked on an incline.
parking the vehicle in gear.
insufficient inspection and maintenance of the braking system.
Employers in the construction industry, putting the safety of workers at risk should be aware that SafeWork NSW will be targeting dodgy construction sites over the next year.
A year long safety blitz has been launched which will involve inspectors visiting sites around the state and checking up on work from height safety in particular as well as other safety issues.
Falls from height are the biggest killer on construction sites in the state and the number of people killed has tripled over the last 5 years.
This year, 8 people died as a result of a fall on a work site.
Inspectors will also take the opportunity to put the latest workplace laws into practice which came into effect on November 1st. Under the new laws inspectors can issue spot fines of up to $3600 to businesses that don’t comply. Find out more at https://prwire.com.au/pr/74501/nsw-safety-blitz-to-target-falls-from-heights
Remember the horrific workplace incident in 2013 which resulted in an 18 year old worker’s skull being pierced by a steel bar, well the construction company has now been fined $90,000 over the incident.
The young man was operating an excavator at the time however the glass front screen of the excavator was open, and while the subcontractor witnessed this, he did not advise the young worker to close it.
The steel bar flew into the cabin, piercing the victim’s skull and penetrating it approximately 85mm deep.
Safety doesn’t always have to be complicated, sometimes its ensuring that the basics are covered, this is one of the reasons why the White Card training is so important that the federal government has mandated it for all construction workers.
SafeWork NSW has launched a campaign to make the state the safest in Australia.
The $32 million campaign “Safety starts with you”, was created out of a response to the rising number of workplace injuries and illneses in NSW across all industries.
Not only are people being injured and killed on the job but the economy is losing millions as a result. According to statistics, there were 30,902 major workplace injuries and illnesses in 2015/16 and 60 fatalities.
The cost of these incidents to the economy was $17.3 billion or 3.7 per cent of gross state product.