Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said as part of a regional crackdown on the construction industry, SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe Victoria Inspectors will be focusing on site housekeeping, height safety, falling objects, electrical, moving plant operations, and silica and asbestos controls.
“We have seen a large increase in activity across residential building work and where businesses are taking on extra work, resources are starting to stretch thin,” Mr Anderson said.
“Safety has to come first, and Inspectors from both jurisdictions will be visiting sites to make sure corners aren’t being cut, and the right safety measures are in place to protect workers.
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.
“Far too often inspectors identify concerns with the way scaffolding is set up and sub-standard protections for those working from heights, so this will be a focus of this blitz. We will also be targeting those working without a high risk work licence and anybody caught dry cutting stone or concrete on site,” Mr Anderson said.
Mr Anderson said the cleanliness of a site can also be a good indicator of safety and work standards.
“A safe site starts with a clean, organised site and we’re seeing an unacceptable drop in standards across the construction industry,” Mr Anderson said.
“Having a well-maintained site is 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 work closely with NSW Fair Trading Inspectors and Officers from the NSW Building Commissioner to share information on businesses and tradespeople delivering poor-quality construction and those who using sub-standard safety practices. Those not meeting standards can expect compliance action to prevent workers being put at risk or consumers getting sub-standard work.
On-the-spot fines of $3,600 for corporations and $720 for individuals will be issued where breaches of the Act are identified and more serious offences could be prosecuted under the Work Health and Safety Legislation attracting higher fines and even imprisonment.
SafeWork offers advisory services to builders and trades persons to achieve safe sites. For assistance, builders and trades persons are encouraged to contact SafeWork on 13 10 50.