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Hunter construction sites fail compliance blitz

82 notices and six on-the-spot fines have been issued following a construction site safety blitz across 54 commercial and residential projects in the Hunter last week.

Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson said the blitz shows SafeWork has zero tolerance to those who fail to comply with NSW’s tough workplace health and safety laws.

“While many sites in the region are working hard to keep their workers safe, especially when it came to implementing COVID safety plans, the risks others are taking are totally unacceptable,” Mr Anderson said.

SafeWork inspectors issued 26 prohibition notices, 56 improvement notices as well as six on-the-spot fines totalling $18,720. The majority of these related to fall from heights risks, unsafe scaffolding, electrical risks and poor risk management systems.

Mr Anderson said the notices were only the first step in the process, and under the recently amended Work Health and Safety Act 2011, non-compliant businesses could face heavy fines or up to 5 years jail-time.

“NSW is proud to be leading the way with the strongest work health and safety legislation in the country, and we will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who disregards the safety of others.

“SafeWork now has a has a consistent presence in the Newcastle and Hunter building industry, and the construction sites we’ve identified can expect regular visits from inspectors until they clean their act up.”

From 1 September, the NSW Government will also be rolling out a new compliance program to undertake risk-based inspections of high-rise residential apartment projects, and arming Building Commissioner David Chandler with new powers to deny occupation certificates for sub-standard work.

“A poor safety record is often an indicator of poor construction standards and sub-standard building work. Those overseeing these type of projects will now not only be prosecuted under workplace safety legislation, but could also be denied an occupation certificate meaning apartments cannot be settled.

“We’re entering a new era in building and construction where developers, builders and everyone involved on building sites is on notice: poor safety standards and shoddy, non-compliant work will not be tolerated,” Mr Anderson said.

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