Border construction sites under the microscope

Posted by Design & Construct on 06-Jun-2015 00:54:06

In Construction

Despite the obvious rivalry between Victoria and New South Wales on the sporting landscape, the state's two workplace safety associations are coming together again to improve construction site safety.

The Cross Border project was first launched in June 2013 after a spate of construction accidents and incidents. Since the two states have slightly different workplace safety legislation in place, the idea was conceived to undertake random checks of construction sites in border towns where businesses might operate across both.

Over the two year period, more than 280 businesses have been assisted to improve their health and safety standards. This year, WorkCover NSW and WorkSafe Victoria aim for many more.

In a May 18 media statement, WorkSafe Victoria revealed that inspectors would travel to Albury and Wodonga region construction sites this month to assess safety standards.

Why these towns?

According to WorkSafe Victoria, Wodonga in particular has a poor safety record. In fact, over 100 worker compensation claims have been made from the region since 2009.

"This project is about preventing harm in the workplace so that workers return home safely at the end of their working day."

Additionally, these injuries are common wounds and amputations (30 per cent) followed by soft-tissue injuries (25 per cent).

WorkCover NSW Assistant Director Response and Regional Operations, Rick Bultitude, explained the importance of this effort.

"Each state has the same or similar requirements for high-risk work licenses and plant operator competencies, and accepts the other state's safe work method statement and management plans," he said.

"This project is about preventing harm in the workplace so that workers return home safely at the end of their working day."

What do authorities target?

Based on previous campaigns, authorities have several areas to target. While most are simple to solve, they pose serious risk to employees and, in some cases, the general public.

Construction safety is the same regardless of state.
Construction safety is the same regardless of state.

WorkSafe's Regional Operations Manager, Brooke Grey, said employers must take responsibility to put adequate measures in place before it is too late.

"Inspectors are routinely finding high risk construction work being undertaken without appropriate safety controls in place to protect workers and the public, such as tradies working on roofs without fall protection. Inspectors have also come across work being done on or near roads without traffic management in place," she said.

Once businesses have been audited, the authorities provide the necessary education and tools to improve workplace safety.

One way for businesses to sew up their workplace safety is to hire the right OHS manager. By controlling the risk and hazards in the right manner, workers are safer and productivity can be much higher.

For more information on this, contact the expert team at Design & Construct today.