HIA Calls for Senate Inquiry into Non-conforming Building Products

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Following the launch of a consumer awareness campaign by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) into faulty electrical cables which could affect as many as 40,000 homes,  The Housing Industry Association (HIA) have called for a Senate Inquiry into non-conforming building products.

While the HIA welcomed news of the ACCC campaign into electrical cables, which they say is crucial to public safety, they say campaigns like this can be circumvented by safeguarding against the use of non-conforming products in the first place.

Find out more here.

Importance of White Card in Maintaining Safety

Although workers and potential workers of the construction industry may be aware of the kind of activities that construction work entails they may not be aware of all the possible dangers that they may be presented with once they enter a construction site. These “dangers” we refer to as hazards and by undergoing construction induction training workers and potential workers can learn about these hazards and how to best overcome them once they begin working on site.

Some of the hazards presented by construction sites that require training in order to overcome include: scaffolding, work from heights, power tool use, heavy machinery and equipment use, trenches and excavations etc.

In the past the safety of employees hasn’t been too high on the priority list of employers however employers do have a duty of care to provide workers with a safe work environment, safe system of work site specific safety training and the appropriate PPE and supervision – all of this is aimed at combatting construction accidents which can leave workers injured, maimed or killed.

Workplace health and Safety (WHS) is one of the most important issues for employers to consider but it is also the responsibility of employees. Employees in the construction sector must undergo safety training prior to entering a site and must apply the knowledge learnt while engaging in work on the site. Workers must abide by the training they have been provided and follow safety procedures as set out by their employers. They must also utilise PPE as directed by employer and never work in an unsafe manner that would endanger their own health and safety and that of their co-worker/s.

The construction industry is an extremely rewarding industry which offers workers many benefits and room for growth however it is also an industry of potential hazards. The opportunity for injury is great and in fact this is one of the most dangerous industries, that is why it is essential that workers are aware of how to safely work on a construction site. It is also important that workers are aware of the regulations set by the government in order to keep them and their colleagues safe from harm.

Every worker should complete the online White Card Training Course to certify that they are qualified to work on a site.  Each site worker is ultimately responsible for his own safety but they also have a responsibility to ensure that he/she does not put the lives of his/her co-workers at risk.  Therefore no matter the task being undertaken, every construction worker should ensure that he is working safely and according to the safety he/she has received. Hazards may vary from site to site and also different hazards may emerge as the project progresses so workers who are well trained on the various hazards that may present themselves in the construction industry during general induction training are better equipped than those who have received site specific training only.

 

White Card Training News: Queensland’s most Dangerous Industries Revealed

Despite the rewards and fulfilment that life in the construction industry can present, it is also a hazardous one. These hazards need to be actively managed in order to avoid injury and death from safety breaches and accidents on building sites.

This is something that many construction employers often fail to recognise which often results in fatalities.

In fact a recent Queensland audit of workplace fatalities has revealed that in that state, the construction industry is the most dangerous industry in the state, tied with the agriculture sector both sectors presented the greatest risk to workers in Queensland.

A report by Workplace Health and Safety discovered that between January and June last year 19 people died after being involved in incidents in a workplace, most of them were male and from the agriculture or construction industries.

The construction industry in Oz have this year been plagued by a number of safety incidents, across the country.

SafetyCulture.com.au posted this about the audit’s findings:

qld-imagesThe breakdown of the deaths that were studied by industry is:

– Agriculture 6

– Construction 6

– Manufacturing 1

– Mining 1

– Government 1

– Automotive repairs 1

In the report, the highest number of deaths was 8 in south west Queensland with one of the incidents involving a man dying after he hit his head after being knocked to the ground by a steer.

The most common injury that led to the death of a worker was internal trauma to the chest, abdomen and pelvis. Four of the deaths were caused by electrocution and brain injury.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/05/queenslands-most-dangerous-industries-revealed/

A simple risk assessment can help prevent many of the injuries and fatalities occurring in the construction sector, particularly electrical hazards which have been identified as a major issue.

One of the measures that need to be undertaken in order to avoid many of these injuries and fatalities in the construction industry is providing workers with the appropriate safety training.

State law dictates that every construction worker must undergo general construction safety training to familiarise them with the hazards they will face on a construction site.

Any person who enters a construction site must have adequate training to prove that he is able to identify and avoid hazards that could cause death or injury due to the dangers that a construction site poses.

Certain dangerous tasks and machine operation require workers to be certified and qualified. However even general workers should be in possession of the White Card Training Course to certify that they are qualified to work on a construction site.

Each site worker is ultimately responsible for his own safety but must also ensure that he/she does not put the lives of his/her co-workers at risk.  Therefore no matter the task being undertaken, every construction worker should ensure that he is working safely because the actions of one can have huge safety implications for co-workers and visitors to the site.

 

White Card Articles: Personal Protective Equipment on Construction Sites

According to statistics released by WorkSafe, injuries on housing building sites are costing the construction industry more than $17million a year. More than 20 Victorian tradies injuries a week were reported on housing constructions sites last year.

In order to reduce these skyrocketing figures it is important that both employers, employees and self-employed tradespeople comply with workplace health and safety policies. One such policy which can significantly reduce the number of injuries on construction sites is the use of PPE.


Picture: www.easyguides.com.au

Personal Protective Equipment is clothing or equipment designed to control risks to health and safety in the workplace. Examples of PPE are:

  • Ear plugs & ear muffs for hearing protection
  • Sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful effects of the sun
  • Hard hats, helmets & sun hats for head protection
  • Respirators, face masks & cartridge filters for breathing protection
  • Safety Boots for foot protection
  • High-visibility garments, thermal wear, overalls, aprons & safety harnesses for overall body protection
  • Reflective vests & fluoro jackets for protection of your abdomen and upper body
  • Goggles & Safety Glasses for eye protection

As an employee in the construction industry you have a legal obligation to adhere to your employer’s health and safety requirements, including use of PPE if instructed by your employer. Refusal to cooperate with these safety policies can result in disciplinary action or prosecution.

Employers have a responsibility to pay for and provide PPE and employees must utilise it as required.

Be vigilant on site and if you see a co-worker not using the PPE provided when they should be, warn them of the risk they are taking and immediately tell your manager.

PPE provide the least effective solution to hazards on a construction site because it doesn’t address the hazard but rather provides a layer of protection against it. It is still helpful in shielding workers from injury.  Therefore it should not be the only control measure implemented but should be used in conjunction with other safety measures.

There are various circumstances that may arise on site that can be prevented or minimised by wearing personal protective equipment. Circumstances that warrant the use of PPE include:

  1. Where there is a risk of noise induced hearing loss, employers should provide hearing protection. The need for such hearing protection equipment such as ear plugs will be assessed by conducting noise surveys in the affected areas.
  2. Workers that are required to work outdoors should be provided with protective clothing and sunscreen suitable for protection from sun damage, especially workers who are exposed to the sun’s harmful rays for long periods of time and are at risk of sun burn and skin cancer due to direct exposure to harmful UV rays.  Radiation from long hours of outdoor work can be reduced by providing hats, long sleeves/trousers and an adequate supply of sunscreen.
  3. When there is a possibility that a person may be struck on the head by a falling object or their head is vulnerable to injury in any way head protection in the form of a safety helmet must be worn.
  4. Hazards such as flying particles, dust, splashing substances, harmful gases, vapours, aerosols, and high intensity radiation from welding operations warrant and necessitate eye protection due to risk of eye injury or loss.
  5. Respiratory protection should be provided after all other practicable measures have been taken to provide control measures to ensure that no worker is exposed to an atmosphere that is or may be harmful to health.
  6. Workers operating near moving traffic or moving plant and equipment should wear high visibility safety vests to reduce the risk of injury associated with not being seen and being hit or run over by machinery or construction vehicles.
  7. Hand protection should be provided where there is a hazard associated with a potential for hand injury, such as working with certain tools. The list of hazards that injure hands will be compiled for each workplace and suitable hand protection should be provided to minimise risk.
  8. Safety /Protective footwear should be provided by employers where the nature of the work exposes the employee to risk of injury to feet.  On a construction site, all workers have the risk of injuring their feet.

Conclusion

While employers do have the responsibility of providing workers with PPE, it is the responsibility of workers to follow the workplace health and safety policies and regulations as instructed by employers… this is covered in our White Card training course. This includes utilising PPE as instructed.  Workers should not charge employees for PPE, as they are required to provide it by law. Employers must also provide the necessary training and instruction on use of PPE.  Workers who fail to utilise PPE as required are not only making themselves eligible for disciplinary action and prosecution, but even more serious they are putting their lives at risk.