More Canberra OHS Concerns

Yet another Canberra site has been shut down by WorkSafe ACT, raising even more concerns about OHS standards in the region.

Last week the site of an apartment building was shut down in mid construction after a safety blitz conducted by WorkSafe inspectors discovered an array of unsafe building practices were being administered on the site. A general lack of attention to safety resulted in the site being shut down and notices being issued.

Now another site in Molonglo Valley, Canberra has been shut down and issued with infringements notices for numerous safety issues. The latest incident has raised even more concerns about the nonchalant attitude toward safety on Canberra construction sites.



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WorkSafe ACT has shutdown another building site and issued dozens of infringement notices during a raid in Molonglo Valley in Canberra.

 ABC reported that seven WorkSafe inspectors conducted the inspections to almost 40 residential construction sites across the suburb of Wright this morning.

 A prohibition notice and a stop work order have been issued by WorkSafe for unsafe scaffolding and more than 50 improvement notices were issued for safety breaches.

 The raid follows a surprise blitz last week at an apartment building in New Acton.

The main issue on the site seems to have been unsafe scaffolding procedures. This can result in any number of injuries from falls to crushing if the scaffolding collapses.

Working from any platform or height can be dangerous, especially heights above 2m which means that this hazard requires management from the sites contractors or employers, and the attention and care of employees.

The risks associated with scaffolding work can be controlled or managed using a combination of techniques which involve in short:

  • fully decking each lift
  • using the sequential erection method and
  • progressively providing access as the scaffold is erected

In addition to workers conducting work from scaffolding, those involved in the erection and dismantling of scaffold are particularly at risk. Scaffolders can be exposed to fall hazards from the open sides or ends of the scaffold and in climbing from one lift of the scaffold to the next lift.

Also the collar locking mechanism on scaffolds can be a hazard if operators do not engage the lock correctly and this can result in the scaffold collapsing, causing massive damage and injury to workers on the scaffold and beneath it.

When working with scaffolding, it is crucial that safety harness systems are correctly utilised but should be used in conjunction with other safety measures and not be the sole control measure.

A scaffolder should never be exposed to a fall prior to being securely connected to the anchor point of the harness.A properly designed harness will permit prolonged worker suspension after a fall without restricting blood flow.

Another important consideration is that guardrails must be installed on all scaffold platforms in accordance with required standards.

PPE are important on any construction site and workers should be trained on their correct use. Hard hats should be worn to protect against falling objects. Mesh, screens, intermediate vertical members or solid panels should be used to safeguard employees and the public at lower levels

Workers on suspended scaffolds must use a fall arrest system as protection against the failure of the scaffold or its components. And it should always be kept in mind that fall protection is only as good as its anchorage. Without the proper anchorage, fall protection is pointless.


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