If you work on a construction site in Mildura or Wentworth you can expect a visit from a work safety inspector in the coming weeks. Because cross border work is common here, workers and employers need to be aware of what is expected by both jurisdictions.
WorkSafe and WorkCover NSW safety inspectors will be paying visits to construction sites in Mildura and Wentworth as of next week in an effort to highlight safety requirements in both states.
Builders and sub-contractors will receive education about workplace safety requirements in both Victoria and NSW when safety inspectors from both jurisdictions begin their visits on March 16th. Inspectors will be focusing on fall protection and UV sun protection, two areas which presumably are often overlooked yet commonly result in injuries.
In an article on SafetyCulture.com.au the planned visits were discussed and the statements of WorkSafe Regional Operations Manager Trevor Butler were quoted. He explained that despite the recent decline in work place injuries over the past two years, there were still too many workers in the region reporting injuries.
Mr Butler stated, “Over the past five years, on average, one worker was seriously injured every fortnight on a construction site in Mildura. More than 11 percent of those injuries were caused by falling from heights,” said Mr Butler.
“Falls from ladders and roofs, or falling into stairway voids were far too common. Sometimes it was incomplete scaffolding that led to a fall. The disappointing thing was that none of these incidents would have happened if the risks had been properly managed.”
There were several tips also mentioned by Mr Butler about minimising the risks of work on a construction site such as work from height safety, the creation of safe work method statements, fall protection measures, supervision of work and so on. He also explained that inspectors will be addressing the use of UV protection during their visits.
“We’re urging the local construction industry to take more care when it comes to managing exposure to UV rays,” said Mr Butler.
“If you’re working outdoors, it’s no longer acceptable to be bare chested or sporting footy shorts and a singlet. Long sleeve tops and knee length shorts provide better protection from UV rays. And don’t forget to wear a hat and regularly reapply sunscreen to exposed skin. Don’t let your guard down when it comes to being sun smart.”
Peter Dunphy of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division was also quoted in the article. He, like Butler highlighted the importance for construction workers to be in agreement when it comes to risks and controls on a work site, regardless of whether they worked in NSW or Victoria.
Workers working across borders have to comply with the same or similar requirements for high-risk work licences, plant operator competencies and must also accept the other state’s safe work method statements and management plans, according to Dunphy.
He highlighted the importance of the inspections in NSW where housing construction is among the most high risk industries.
Both organisations are urging people involved in construction in both states to get an inspection checklist, available from all major hardware stores before the visit.