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North Coast building sites need to lift safety standards

Following a number of serious incidents on construction sites across regional NSW SafeWork NSW has visited more than 60 construction sites from Tweed Heads to Ballina last week, issuing 96 notices including eight on the spot fines, 16 prohibition and 72 improvement notices.

SafeWork NSW Director of Regional Construction, Laurence Richey, said there were serious risks on a number of construction sites including no fall protection, poor hygiene standards as well as significant electrical compliance issues.

“It was really disappointing to walk onto sites which have serious falls risks, as well as scaffolds with missing parts or evidence that unlicensed workers had altered or removed scaffolding components,” Mr Richey said.

“Fines of up to $3,600 were issued for falls risks, while prohibition and improvement notices were issued for risks from falling objects and not managing moving plant.

“Builders can expect further ongoing visits as we continue to check compliance, take enforcement action, and apply sanctions where any risks are observed.

“We want to remind the construction industry that falls from heights are the number one killer on NSW building sites. More than 12,000 workers were injured after a fall from a height between 2014 and 2017. Sadly 25 died, while more than 240 were permanently disabled.

“Ongoing construction blitzes by SafeWork will be occurring right across both metropolitan and regional NSW in 2021, with findings like these a wake-up call for the construction industry is needed to immediately lift their standards,” Mr Richey said.

Our Inspectors can also refer any poor quality construction work or unsafe practices detected to the Office of the NSW Building Commissioner for further investigation.

Apart from undertaking compliance inspections, SafeWork inspectors held a number of toolbox talks covering primary harms in the construction industry.

SafeWork NSW and Fair Trading also offer advisory services to builders and trades persons to assist in achieving safe sites. For assistance, builders and trades people are encouraged to contact 13 10 50.


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