Construction workers across the state are being warned of the dangers from unsafe scaffolds as SafeWork NSW kicks-off operation Scaff Safe 2020 today following the success of the targeted compliance blitz last year.
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson said principal contractors are responsible for ensuring that construction sites are safe, which is why it is important to have clear policies, procedures and education about scaffolds on worksites.
“Far too often we see different trades remove a small part of the scaffold to make it easier to do their work, without understanding what they are doing to the integrity of the structure, and that’s how accidents can happen,” Mr Anderson said.
“Our message for principal contractors is to make sure there is adequate supervision, consultation and communication on site. By doing so they can easily address the risks associated with scaffolds and we can avoid unnecessary accident or injury.”
In 2019 SafeWork NSW inspectors issued more than 1,300 notices related to scaffolds across the state, including 131 on-the-spot fines totalling $432,720.
Mr Anderson said the NSW Government does not tolerate workers lives being placed at risk which is why field operations like Scaff Safe 2.0 are so important.
“Inspectors can issue on-the-spot fines of $3600 for businesses and $720 for individuals if they discover workers are at serious or imminent risk of falls from heights, or if unlicensed workers erect, alter or dismantle a scaffold,” Mr Anderson said.
“We’re also encouraging workers to make a report via our mobile tool, Speak Up. Save Lives, if they witness unsafe behaviour with scaffolds. It’s quick, you can supply photos and you can remain anonymous.”
To access the Speak Up. Save Lives mobile tool, head to speakup.safework.nsw.gov.au.