There are some new developments in the construction industry that could help ensure safer working environments for workers in Australia.
With new regulations being adopted and new codes up for consideration, the working life of construction workers and their safety could improve significantly with the implementation of new legislation. There is also a cry for more appropriate conduct from militant union representatives.
Let's take a closer look at what is happening in the Australian construction sector.
The Work Health And Safety And Other Legislation Agreement Act 2014
In early April, the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2014 was passed into legislation in Queensland.
This act requires holders of work health and safety entry permits (and those assisting them) to give 24 hours notice before visiting a construction site. Militant union representatives citing 'safety' as a reason for forcefully entering constructions sites can put workers at risk, and both employers and the government intend to put a stop to these occurrences.
Anyone who breaches these laws - including union officials - is subject to a $22,000 fine, which is double the previous fine of $11,000.
Experts expect these reforms to improve worker safety and prevent militant industry activity from taking place.
The Building and Construction Industry Code 2014
The Building and Construction Industry Code 2014 or Fair and Lawful Building Sites Code sets out new standards and behaviors for industrial relations practices. All contractors will be expected to follow these codes to legally work on projects funded by the Commonwealth government.
The new rules are not expected to come into effect until June, 2014 when the Senate changes. Implementation of the code is opposed by Labour and the Greens, and is part of the same bill that re-introduces the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
The new code is expected to increase efficiency on job sites and help get the Australian construction sector on track.
While it remains to be seen whether or not the Building and Construction Industry Code will see implementation or not, there are additional measures taking place to ensure the safety of workers and the future success of the industry.
Image: Rob and Stephanie Levy