This post takes a look into the progress made in the construction industry since last year in order to determine how far we’ve come and how far still need to go before workers can come to work without the fear of being injured or killed on the job.

Last year the building union (CFMEU) described the Canberra civil construction industry as “a time bomb”. Almost every month a worker was being killed because of a serious of workplace accident. This The CFMEU called a wake-up call to the industry.  (Read more:

The incidents which begun last year had everyone in the industry as well as The ACT’s Work Safety Commissioner, Mark McCabe scrambling to improve safety. He made a number of visits to construction sites attempting to bring attention to issue.

According to the latest Notifiable Fatalities Monthly report, March 2013 was a good month for construction safety. No worker deaths were reported anywhere in The ACT or Oz during this period, although 3 members of the public were killed. The 3 pedestrians were killed when a wall collapsed in Melbourne and killed them as they were walking pass. had this to say about the latest report:

There were 25 work-related notifiable fatalities reported during March — 17 male workers, 2 female workers, 2 male bystanders and 4 female bystanders. For further details see the Notified Fatalities Monthly Report March 2013.

The monthly notifiable fatality report provides a national summary of work-related traumatic fatalities that were notifiable to Australian work health and safety jurisdictions. Besides providing an estimate of the number of work-related deaths, the report also includes details of the types of incident involved; the industry of the workplace at which the fatalities occurred; and the industry of the decedent’s employer. The December 2011 and December 2012 reports have are also retained to show the figures over previous months.


Although March was a good month for the construction industry in general because there were no fatalities, the injury rate in the sector remains troublingly high, particularly in the ACT.

In fact according to figures released by Safe Work Australia, there has been a 17 per cent increase in serious accidents on worksites in the state between 2011-2012.

When accidents requiring 12 weeks or more off work are tallied, the ACT leads the nation with 9.5 accidents for every 1000 workers in 2010-11. The ACT’s construction workforce has remained fatality-free for the past 12 months but the injury rate remains stubbornly high.

Inspectors in the ACT are still on a blitz, visiting sites across the state, checking on a number of issues. One of the issues for which inspectors will be issuing on-the-spot fines is workers without a White Card. Working without a White Card is one of the reasons why so many accidents are occurring- workers aren’t aware of the hazards and how to overcome them, something they will learn during the White Card course.

Builders need to check that their workers are in position of the white card and employees need to ensure that they have completed this general construction safety training or face the consequences.


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