Melbourne Replaces Sydney as Centre of Housing Construction Boom

Photo source: Pixabay

The housing construction industry in Melbourne is now the epicentre of the nation’s residential building boom replacing Sydney with 12 of the top 20 housing construction “hotspots” located in Melbourne.

According to research by the Housing Industry Association, over the last financial year Melbourne had the majority of  “hotspots” in the top 20 “hotspots” with the remaining 8 being located in Sydney and Southeast Queensland.

A “hotspot” is a region where at least $150 million worth of residential construction work was approved over a 12 month period and the rate of population growth is faster than the national average (1.6%).

The HIA said solid employment and population growth in Victoria will result in it continuing to dominate the “hotspots” list for the current financial year and even longer.

In the 12 months to June 2017, Melbourne’s population grew by 125,400.

As the demand for housing continues, the housing construction sector in the state will continue to flourish and tradies will benefit. If you’re interested in capitalising on the Victorian construction boom and getting involved in this industry for the first time, or if you plan on returning to it,  you need to complete the White Card course (Work Safely in the Construction Industry). You can complete the Victorian White Card course online and get your nationally recognised accreditation to start earning in the construction sector anywhere in Australia today.


WorkSafe Investigates North Melbourne Scaffolding Collapse

 Anyone engaging in demolition work should be in possession of a valid White Card, this proves that they have completed the White Card Course and know how to work safely in the construction industry.
A recent incident in North Melbourne is a reminder of why general construction safety training is mandatory throughout Australia.
Three levels of scaffolding fell from a building being demolished on Monday morning.
While no injuries were reported, the incident could have proven fatal, not just for those involved in the demolition work, but members of the public as well. WorkSafe is investigating the cause.

Why the CFMEU and MBA Are Squabbling


It seems the one thing the CFMEU and Master Builders Association can agree on is that a lack of co-operation is to blame for deteriorating workplace safety.

In an article on, the lack of co-operation between the groups was highlghted but each entity blames the other.

The disagreement between the 2 groups seems to have been spurred on by the release of statistics by Safe Work Australia which indicated a drop in the number of serious workplace injuries.

The rate of compensation claims is also down in the ACT with six claims last year for every million hours worked, which is a significant improvement from 3 years prior.


How Training can Help Reduce Incidents on a Work Site

Exploring the Importance of White Card and other Safety Training in Construction

The construction sector is one of the most high risk not just in Australia but globally and in most countries there is a mandatory safety course that construction workers must embark on before beginning work on a building site, Oz is no different. Construction employers often grapple with how to minimise expenses while improving productivity and increasing profits but they often overlook one very important aspect – Safety and in particular Safety Training.

In Oz we are required to complete the White Card course as proof that we are aware of the dos and don’ts of construction site safety, including what the law says but this mandatory training course should not be undertaken just as a means of fulfilling a legal requirement, it is also a valuable resource for workers who are about to begin work in a work environment rich with hazards and risks.

There are certain hazards that are common to almost every construction site whether it is a mining construction site, construction of an apartment building or road construction project and there are also those that are unique to certain sites. The White Card course teaches workers the general hazards that can be expected when working in the construction industry but additional site specific training is also required because no 2 sites will be the same, employers need to therefore address these individual hazards which may be unique to the site.

The White Card Course

The White Card course is the general construction safety training course which is mandatory for construction workers in Australia. Fortunately potential construction workers who do not wish to return to a traditional training environment but wish to complete the course can do so by simply logging onto following the prompts and completing the course online.

There is no hassle to register or stand in queues to register, neither is there any money wasted on transportation costs, textbooks and stationery, students simply register and pay online and begin the course which is administered online.

Most students choose to complete the course in just one day, usually taking just 3 or 4 hours but you can also complete it over a longer period of time without having to repeat any of the work. The system remembers where you leave off each time and when you sign in, you can simply pick up where you leave off.

Once you have completed the online portion of the assessments, you complete a short verbal assessment by calling into our call centre in Brisbane during office hours.

Thereafter you will receive a small credit card sized white card in the mail which must be retained as proof that you have completed the course. This White Card will allow you to work on a construction site anywhere in Oz and doesn’t limit you to working in any one specific state or territory.

Site Specific Training

Although our White Card course has been developed by experts in the construction health and safety industry, it is a general safety course meant to lay the groundwork for the safety knowledge that you will build up over time working on a construction site.

It is up to the employer or person undertaking the business to ensure that all workers have received any additional safety training that may be necessary. This training commonly called Site Specific training will teach workers about the hazards that are specific to their work site and job descriptions.

Such issues as emergency response procedures developed for the site, safety plans etc. will all form part of this site specific training which will obviously differ from site to site. No 2 sites are ever the same, so the hazards and strategies associated with them will also differ.

Employers Additional Responsibilities

Once workers have received the site specific training as well as the general construction induction training, the first thing employers should do is identify the hazards on site. Hazards may be common to the construction industry or unique to your specific site. Employers must consult with workers when identifying these hazards because some hazards may only be known to those workers involved in the specific task. Those responsible for safety should also go through injury records to identify the most common risks.



Defining “Safety” in Construction

I was recently asked by someone a question which led me to question my own ideas about safety, the question, “what is safety”, the answer I found to be much more complex than I had originally thought.

The question got me thinking, not only about what the word “safety” means by what it implies to me to personally in the context of the work environment.

For me safety as it relates to the construction environment is a complex matter which involves all departments, tradespeople and workers as well as all entities involved in the construction project, from client to employer, principal contractor to casual labourer.

Helen Keller once said: “Safety is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,  nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Many people think safety and danger go hand in hand, you cant have one without some form of the other, so using this logic naturally a construction site full of potential danger will require a level of safety to overcome these dangers. Being or “feeling” safe is the condition of being protected from this danger, risk or injury. Obviously where there is danger (on a construction site this comes in the form of hazards), safety must arise to bring about this “condition of protection from danger”.

But implementing this “protection” or “safety” is a process which requires a systematic approach taking into consideration all the factors on the construction site.

While most of the responsibility for safety is held by the employer, the construction worker, regardless of position or trade must also ensure that they do their part towards safety on site. Firstly each worker must complete the construction induction training, commonly referred to as The White Card.

According to Workplace Health and Safety Legislation you must be in possession of your white card before beginning any work on a construction site in Oz, no matter your trade.

The White Card Course is mandatory for anyone entering into a career or even just a temporary job on a construction site. This training does not involve costly and time consuming training in a classroom type environment, most people just complete the White Card Course online and receive their White Card in the mail.

The course is nationally recognised, so safety across all states is unified and improved. Workers are also able to work across borders and in any state they choose in Oz.

While we are all born with some sense of self preservation we cannot simply rely on our common sense to remain safe on a construction site. There are certain hazards that we may not be familiar with and there are tried and tested methods of overcoming these hazards – that is what the White Card Course teaches, how to work safely in the construction environment.


Worker Killed and another Injured after Building collapsed


Injured worker is removed from the site of the collapse

Photo: Channel Nine

Work Safety Authorities are currently investigating the cause of a building collapse that left one worker injured and claimed the life of another on a building site in Melbourne’s south-east recently.

WorkCover and the Victorian Building Authority investigators are currently trying to piece together the events leading up to the collapse in South Caulfield.

A 20 year old carpenter was unfortunately killed when he was covered by debris as part of a building he was working on collapsed.

According to police, the 2 men fell 10 metres when the top and mezzanine floors of the shopfront collapsed on Thursday morning, causing them to become trapped under the rubble.

This excerpt from a post on explains what happened:

Witnesses report hearing a loud crash as the floors gave way, narrowly missing two electricians working on the ground floor.

The pair tried desperately to free their workmates with the help of passers-by but were unable to save the 20-year-old.

A 48-year-old subcontractor pulled from the rubble was taken to The Alfred hospital in a serious but stable condition with fractured legs and a fractured arm as well as heavy cuts and bruising.

An Ambulance Victoria spokesman said paramedics were called to the site about 10am.

Emergency crews and Workcover investigators spent the day at the scene but will not speculate on the cause of the collapse until investigations are complete.

Renovation of the narrow shopfront between a pizzeria and a beauty salon began in late April.

Read more:

The article goes on to describe how passers-by even joined co-workers to try and free the men from the debris. The younger worker was trapped under a lot of debris and unfortunately died on the scene. The post goes on to explain:

Nick Love, 21, said he and emergency workers worked for about 10 minutes to pull wood off the men. ”Once we got to the [younger] guy, he was under a lot of stuff and I just stepped back and let the paramedics do their thing.”

Source: :

An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman said the surviving man suffered fractures to both his arms and possibly one of his legs but remained conscious throughout the ordeal. This is the 11th workplace fatality in Victoria this year and WorkSafe is on the scene investigating.

Workers can do little to prepare themselves for an unexpected incident such as a building collapse but it helps to be trained on construction site safety overall.

In addition to being the law, completing the White Card Course will teach workers the basic safety issues needed to operate safely on a construction site so that they do not place their own safety or that of their co-workers in jeopardy.


Construction Safety News: Biggest Threat to Construction Workers

Ask any worker within the construction industry what is the greatest risk they face and you will hear a variety of answers from falls from heights to electrocution hazards, to being struck by vehicles, but in fact the greatest risk that construction workers face is actually ignorance.

Ignorance of safety issues is the greatest threat to the safety of workers on construction sites. The truth is employers can have the best safety systems in place but if workers aren’t trained on them they are ignorant of safety issues and virtually useless in terms of site safety.

It is vital that before allowing a worker onto a site, employers ensure that that worker is equipped with the necessary safety knowledge to operate on the site without presenting a risk to health and safety on site. This entails confirming that each worker has completed the White Card Course and is possession of a White Card. If workers have not completed this training, it does not matter how experienced or skilled they may be, they cannot set foot onto a construction site for work. If workers have not completed the course, employers need to ensure that they do so before allowing them to begin working on site.

While it is true that electrical hazards, slips, trips and falls are the most commonly occurring hazard on a construction site, if workers are trained on general construction safety they are more likely to be able to overcome these hazards without becoming a risk to themselves or others on site.



White Card Course ACT: Improving Building Site Safety

This post takes a look into the progress made in the construction industry since last year in order to determine how far we’ve come and how far still need to go before workers can come to work without the fear of being injured or killed on the job.

Last year the building union (CFMEU) described the Canberra civil construction industry as “a time bomb”. Almost every month a worker was being killed because of a serious of workplace accident. This The CFMEU called a wake-up call to the industry.  (Read more:

The incidents which begun last year had everyone in the industry as well as The ACT’s Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe scrambling to improve safety. He made a number of visits to construction sites attempting to bring attention to issue.

According to the latest Notifiable Fatalities Monthly report, March 2013 was a good month for construction safety. No worker deaths were reported anywhere in The ACT or Oz during this period, although 3 members of the public were killed. The 3 pedestrians were killed when a wall collapsed in Melbourne and killed them as they were walking pass. had this to say about the latest report:

There were 25 work-related notifiable fatalities reported during March — 17 male workers, 2 female workers, 2 male bystanders and 4 female bystanders. For further details see the Notified Fatalities Monthly Report March 2013.

The monthly notifiable fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions. Besides providing an estimate of the number of work-related deaths, the report also includes details of the types of incident involved; the industry of the workplace at which the fatalities occurred; and the industry of the decedent’s employer. The December 2011 and December 2012 reports have are also retained to show the figures over previous months.


Although March was a good month for the construction industry in general because there were no fatalities, the injury rate in the sector remains troublingly high, particularly in the ACT.

In fact according to figures released by Safe Work Australia, there has been a 17 per cent increase in serious accidents on worksites in the state between 2011-2012.

When accidents requiring 12 weeks or more off work are tallied, the ACT leads the nation with 9.5 accidents for every 1000 workers in 2010-11. The ACT’s construction workforce has remained fatality-free for the past 12 months but the injury rate remains stubbornly high.

Inspectors in the ACT are still on a blitz, visiting sites across the state, checking on a number of issues. One of the issues for which inspectors will be issuing on-the-spot fines is workers without a White Card. Working without a White Card is one of the reasons why so many accidents are occurring- workers aren’t aware of the hazards and how to overcome them, something they will learn during the White Card course.

Builders need to check that their workers are in position of the white card and employees need to ensure that they have completed this general construction safety training or face the consequences.


ACT White Card Online Training Course – Learn to Work Safely in the Construction Industry

An important issue for the construction sector in The ACT is construction safety and the related issue of safety training. This is because the ACT has been identified as having the highest serious injury rate in Oz.

Some of the most important issues that need to be addressed if safety on The ACT’s worksites are to be improved include work from heights, signage, fencing, amenities, housekeeping, scaffolding, electrical test and tagging, personal protective equipment (PPE) and most importantly ensuring that all workers are in possession of their white card.

Whether you are an experienced worker who managed to work under the radar for years without the necessary qualifications or a new or apprentice worker considering starting out in the industry, it is vital to complete the White Card course. Temporary workers, full time employees, contractors, supervisors, project managers even vehicle operators on site as well as all trades people need to first obtain their White Card before beginning work on a building site.

During the course learners will become accustomed with the basic principles of health and safety in the construction industry, with the course covering

  • An explanation of OHS legislative requirements;
  • The identification of construction hazards
  • Identifying control measures to deal with hazards;
  • OHS communication and reporting processes and
  • OHS incident response procedures

The course goes further into each of these the topics above to teach workers how to stay safe and avoid endangering the lives of others in the completion of construction tasks.

The good news about the White Card course is that it is now nationally recognised, which allows workers that complete it to seek employment anywhere in Oz. It is also completed online which means that workers save time and money as compared to traditional face-to-face training.


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: