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SafeWork to examine Sydney construction sites

Construction sites across wider Sydney can expect a visit from SafeWork Inspectors this week who will be targeting unsafe working systems across all building trades.

Better Regulation Divisions’ Executive Director, Compliance and Dispute Resolution, Tony Williams said as part of a state-wide crackdown, Inspectors will be focusing on site housekeeping, height safety, falling objects, electrical, moving plant operations, and controlling risks related to silica and asbestos exposure.

“From March 9-11, inspectors will be undertaking a compliance blitz on construction sites to make sure those most at risk from workplace injury are protected by safe systems of work,” Mr Williams said.

“Far too often our inspectors identify concerns with the way scaffolding is set up and other dangers involving working from heights so we will be targeting these issues in particular.

“Falls from heights are the number one killer on NSW construction sites with most people who are seriously injured or killed falling from a height of four metres or less,” Mr Williams said.

Mr Williams said cleanliness of a site can be a good indicator of safety and work standards.

“A safe construction site starts with a clean site and we’re seeing an unacceptable drop in standards across the construction industry,” Mr Williams said.

“Having a well-maintained site is also a good indicator of the quality of the work being done. If the site managers won’t remove trip and fire hazards like piles of rubbish from the site, there’s a good chance that building standards will be haphazard as well.”

SafeWork Inspectors now work closely with NSW Fair Trading Inspectors and Officers from the NSW Building Commissioner to share information on businesses and tradespeople delivering poor-quality workmanship and or safety practices. Those not meeting standards can expect strong compliance action to prevent workers being put at risk or consumers getting sub-standard work.

For safety offences, on-the-spot fines of $3,600 for corporations and $720 for individuals can be issued to businesses who place workers lives at risk through inadequate protection from falls from heights, or for those who undertake high risk work requiring a licence, or those undertaking high risk silica practices.

SafeWork offers advisory services to builders and trades persons to assist builders to achieve safe sites. For assistance, builders and trades persons are encouraged to contact SafeWork on 13 10 50 or visit SafeWork NSW Free advisory visits and workshops

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