According to WorkSafe ACT, apprentices in Canberra who undertake high risk work at construction sites will be safer following their new crackdown and release of new guidance requirements for the supervision of apprentices. This follows a recent study which found that one fifth of all workplace injuries are incurred by workers under the age of 25 years.
Apprentices are particularly vulnerable on construction sites, especially when engaging in high risk work which makes the need for adequate supervision even greater. Unskilled or inexperienced workers such as apprentices cannot be expected to work unsupervised in an industry as challenging as construction especially because construction workers actions affect more than just the company’s bottom line as in other industries, it affects people’s safety.
Research by SafeWork Australia earlier this year indicated that there is generally a higher rate of injury for young people in the workplace and the construction industry is one of the highest risk industries for young workers. It also found that approximately two thirds of young workers did not apply for workers’ compensation after an injury with 50% thinking that the injury was minor and it was not worth claiming
The injuries most sustained included hand, finger and thumb injuries suffered by a quarter of the young workers injured. A particularly problematic area for apprentice workers seems to be working in the vicinity of vehicles because 2 thirds of young worker fatalities involved traumatic injury concerning a vehicle. WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe has released 2 sets of guidance requirements for the supervision of apprentices to overcome some of these issues.
Some of these guidelines include banning trainees and apprentices from working without the mandated supervision or working without the necessary accreditation.
The guidance is expected to be more successful than previous attempts to keep apprentice and young workers safe because it involves substantial potential fines for corporations as well as the imprisonment of individuals for breaches of these regulations, which should certainly serve as more motivation for employers and contractors to enforce them diligently.
“These new Guidance Notes make it clear that apprentices carrying out high risk work, such as licensed electrical work, must not be left alone on worksites,” Commissioner McCabe said during the release of the new guidance recently.
An article on SafetyCulture.com.au explains more about the new guidance requirements:
Mr McCabe said that supervisors need to know that they are responsible for the safety of all their workers, especially apprentices who need a greater level of supervision over workers who are experienced.
He said that these two guidance notes restate the industry requirements and sanctions that are already in place. They are being released as a part of a campaign to improve safety by making sure that supervisors understand and observe these responsibilities.
The guidance notes also outline potential fines for corporations of $3million, and a $600,000 fine and up to 5 years imprisonment for individuals for breaches of the regulations.
For more information about the guidance requirements visit http://www.worksafe.act.gov.au/news/view/1476/title/supervision-of-apprentices-in-the