As the ACT Work Safety Inspectors begin a 3 week blitz, the ACT’s work safety commissioner, Mark McCabe announced that the states serious accident rate make it the most dangerous construction jurisdiction.
Although the state has begun a trend towards safer construction sites, figures indicate a 17 per cent increase in serious accidents on local sites between 2011 and 2012. According to an article on CanberraTimes.com.au, during this time The Act recorded 30.5 serious accidents (which required workers compensation claims and a week or more off work), for every 1000 workers on the job in the same period as compared with only 24.5 the year before. This is much higher than the national average which was 18.7.
Ultimately 363 construction workers were seriously injured in The ACT in 2011-2012 as compared with only 321 the previous year.
These figures and more relating to safety in the state as compared with other states will be published by Safe Work Australia in October in their “Comparative Monitoring Report”. The Report highlights workers compensation claim comparisons for various industries across Oz.
Read the following excerpt from an article on CanberraTimes.com.au which explains more about the report and its findings:
Tasmania had been slightly ahead of the ACT in 2010-11 for injuries requiring a week or more off work, but Mr McCabe said he could not imagine the ACT would not eclipse Tasmania with a 17 per cent increase.
When accidents requiring 12 weeks or more off work are tallied, the ACT already leads the nation with 9.5 accidents for every 1000 workers in 2010-11. This is well above Tasmania, on 5.6 accidents, with the national average 5.2.
While the ACT’s construction workforce has remained fatality-free for the past 12 months, just last month Mr McCabe warned of a spate of serious accidents including two worksites being shut down over dangerous scaffolding and one investigation into a metal pipe being dropped from a scaffold that pierced an electric cable and narrowly missed a gas pipe.
This week also sees the start of a safety blitz by inspectors across Canberra where residential construction sites will be targeted. Inspectors are also authorised to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $3600 for breaches ranging from work from height violations, signage, fencing, amenities, housekeeping, scaffolding, electrical testing and tagging, personal protective equipment and checking that all workers are in possession of their White Card – so contractors beware!
In order to avoid on-the-spot fines or even worse, prosecution (because of accidents and negligence caused by a lack of knowledge about safety precautions), ensure that all workers on site have completed their White Card Construction Safety Training – this is proof that they are trained on general construction safety and can be trusted to work safely on a construction site without endangering themselves or others onsite. Site controllers should also remember that regardless of whether a worker is experienced or simply an apprentice, they should be in possession of this qualification because it is a mandatory legal requirement.