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Focus turns to Hunter building sites following $400K landmark fine

10 August 2020

Building and construction sites in Newcastle can expect an unannounced visit from SafeWork NSW inspectors this week as the workplace safety regulator undertakes high-visibility safety checks across the region.

 

Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said after a number of serious injuries on sites throughout the state, inspectors would be on the ground ensuring those undertaking high-risk work have the right safeguards in place.

“Today we’re kicking off a crackdown on high-risk harms on construction sites across the Newcastle region,” Mr Anderson said.

Inspectors are focusing on work from heights, electrical safety, falling objects, amenities, work plans and the prevention of respiratory diseases such as silicosis, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. They will also be checking worksites have appropriate COVID-19 safe practices in place for all workers.

“SafeWork will show zero tolerance for workers or the public being put at risk of serious or fatal injuries through unsafe practices, and heavy on-the-spot fines will be handed out to anyone doing the wrong thing,” Mr Anderson said.

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 fall from heights protection, or for those who undertake high risk work without appropriate licences.

Last week, Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd was fined $400,000 for a breach of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 after 20-year-old worker died as a result of injuries sustained following a six-metre fall through a skylight.

Mr Anderson said the tragic incident underscores the need to protect young workers.

“Looking after the most vulnerable in the workplace should be at the heart of any company’s safety plans. It’s so important that young workers get specific training and appropriate supervision to do their job safely,” Mr Anderson said.

Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd has the right to appeal the sentence.

For more information on SafeWork’s operations and work health and safety advice, visit the SafeWork website.

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