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Date PostedNovember 18, 2013

Importance of Training to survive emergency situations

Although the number of incidents occurring on construction sites where workers are injured or killed is declining according to work authority statistics, it is still important to ensure safety is a priority so that these good safety records are maintained. Sadly many people tend to become complacent with safety the more familiar they are with it, this is when accidents happen because people let down their guards.

The first thing employers should ensure is that all workers, whether contract workers, temporary, experienced or apprentice workers, are properly trained to handle the many hazards presented by construction work. According to Australian legislation this involves completing the white card course (visit our homepage for more on the online course).

Often on a construction site workers are injured or cause injury to others because they are taken by surprise. If workers are adequately trained on safety and remain alert at all times, the risk of incidents is lowered.  Unfortunately accidents do still happen and workers need to be able to respond appropriately in an emergency situation. Workers must be prepared to handle these situations to avoid injuries and possible fatalities.

Panic is the enemy when it comes to accidents on a construction site however there is little we can do to stop human nature, other than ensure that workers are prepared and in order to that they need to be trained. When an accident or some other emergency occurs workers don’t have much time to make decisions – that is why they need to be trained so that they are aware of what to do should something go wrong.

When events such as fires, explosions, structural collapses and falls etc. take place, fast action is needed to prevent further injury and assist workers that may be already injured. Workers need to be trained on the appropriate response because time to assess the situation is limited and workers need to instinctively know what to do.

Workers need to stay calm, raise the alarm and get help by alerting supervisors, first aid officers or health and safety reps as to the situation.

Employers need to remember that they have a responsibility to implement emergency response plans, keeping in mind all stages of the construction project. It is also important to consider the availability of emergency services. Every scenario should be taken into consideration and a strategy should be developed to control whatever the emergency situation may be. Some of the possible situations that need to considered are vehicle and machinery rollovers, excavation collapses, cranes making contact with over-head power lines etc, the list is very long.

Employers must however remember that having the best safety plan in place is not good enough to overcome incidents, workers need to be made aware of these plans through adequate training. Emergency procedures should be regularly reviewed and assessed to determine whether they remain sufficient or whether they should altered depending on the stage of construction and the processes taking place.


Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

Posted in General Construction, White Card, White Card Construction Site Safety Articles Tagged with: , , , , ,

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