The Victorian WorkCover Authority and WorkCover NSW have begun a joint safety project with local construction businesses in an attempt to raise awareness of the similarities and ease with which working on either side of the border is possible and improve health and safety on construction sites across both states.
In Victoria and NSW, one common characteristic shared by both states is that the construction industry is one of the highest risk. According to WorkSafe in the last 5 years 328 construction workers in Victoria’s northeast were injured. These injuries cost more than $8.3million. In NSW South West more than 1209 injuries and work related illnesses as well as 3 fatalities occurred in the 3 years leading up to 2010/2011 which cost more than $14,3million in workman’s compensation, hence the need for greater safety awareness.
The project will entail inspectors from both WorkCover Vic and WorkCover NSW visiting construction sites and explaining the similarities between the NSW and Vic health and safety laws. They will also touch on the subject of perceived impediments to working across the border and how to ensure health and safety compliance.
Recently it was announced that a new program would be rolled out to help rid the industry of any red tape issues for workers who operate across borders in both states. Previously WorkCover NSW did not accept the competency certificate for training that was obtained in Victoria but that has all changed, making work across the border much simpler.
This excerpt was taken from a post on WorkSafeNews.com.au and explains further:
General Manager of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division, Peter Dunphy said the project aimed to increase certainty, reduce the regulatory burden and address some of the challenges construction industry businesses face working along the border.
“Many construction companies are based in one state but undertake work in the other,” Mr Dunphy said.
“This has created confusion about the differences between NSW and Victorian health and safety laws and the perception that they have to comply to a completely different set of safety requirements if the work across the border.
“Regardless of which state you work in, the risks and controls on construction sites are well known, as are the control measures that should be in place.
“Each state has the same or similar requirements for high risk work licences, plant operator competencies and accepts the other states’ safe work method statements and builder’s plans.”
Allan Beacom, the VWA’s Construction Unit manager, said the project aimed to reduce injuries and deaths from unsafe work practices in construction sites in border areas.
“We want to improve the ability of builders and sub-contractors to recognise, manage and control construction hazards and risks on both sides of the border,” Mr Beacom said.
The organisations also aim to encourage better housekeeping practices, safety planning and supervision. It is hoped that this will help minimise what workers perceive as difficulty with working across the border and result in a more productive, healthy and safe construction industry in both states.
The post goes on to explain that during the inspector visits scheduled for throughout the month of June a new inspection checklist will be trialled to ensure a consistent and uniform approach to site health and safety. There will also be joint information sessions held across both states.