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Victorian construction sites are in the frame throughout July as safety inspectors target fall prevention.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors will visit 1000 construction sites during the prevention campaign, examining fall-prevention measures and providing information to builders and sub-contractors.

WorkSafe statistics indicate more than 3400 construction workers have lodged compensation claims following a fall and 21 workers have fallen to their death since 2005.

“The most recent fatality occurred on a high-rise building site in Carlton in February, when a worker fell 20m down a service shaft after the platform he was working on collapsed,” according to WorkSafe.

“You don’t have to fall from a great height to be killed or suffer permanent injuries, so if inspectors visit a site and find that there is an immediate risk of a fall, work will stop and not be allowed to restart until the site is compliant,” said WorkSafe Construction Program Manager Dermot Moody in a media statement.

Moody said: “Don’t assume that because you have never had a fall, your site is working safely. It may just mean you have been lucky – but safety can never be left to chance.”

For more details, visit the fall campaign.

A construction worker was killed at the new Royal Adelaide Hospital site on the weekend.

The male worker died late last Saturday afternoon. He was 63 years old and sustained crush injuries, according to The Advertiser.

SafeWork SA is investigating the incident.

“I offer my condolences to the man’s family and friends at this difficult time, and every support is being offered to the family,” said SafeWork SA Executive Director Marie Boland in a media statement.

Another worker, 54-year-old Jorge Castillo-Riffo, was crushed to death at the same site in 2014.

The most recent fatality brings South Australia’s 2016 work-related death toll to five.

For more details, visit SafeWork SA

Published on 25 February 2016 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today

Workplace audits to check compliance with new drug and alcohol requirements in the building industry will begin in February.

The new requirements are contained in the Building Code (Fitness for Work/Alcohol and Other Drugs in the Workplace) Amendment Instrument 2015, which started on 16 October.

The new rule applies to building contractors covered by the Building Code 2013, including contractors working on large Commonwealth-funded building projects.

Contractors will be required to implement a policy that tests for alcohol and other drugs, including opiates, THC, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines and methamphetamines.

A comprehensive policy setting out how the testing will be conducted and the procedures to be followed in the case of a positive test are also mandatory.

In the first two stages of implementation, Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC), who is responsible for monitoring compliance with the Building Code, will educate industry about the change and conduct audits with the view of providing feedback to help contractors comply.

In the third stage, FWBC will conduct compliance audits. These will start after 1 February.

For more details, visit FWBC

Published on 22 October 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email. Subscribe online today.

Workplace inspectors from New South Wales and Victoria are visiting construction sites in Murray River border towns this week.

Construction sites from Cobram and Barooga to Corowa are in the inspectors’ sights, said the safety regulators WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW in a joint media release.

Inspectors are checking to ensure builders and subcontractors are managing high-risk construction work, complying with safe work method statements (SWMSs) and preventing falls down stair voids.

“Inspectors will also want to see builders effectively managing site safety, including having public protection in place and ensuring housekeeping practices are adequate,” said both regulators.

Laurence Richey, WorkCover NSW Assistant Director, Regional and Response Operations, said in the media release that proper planning and risk assessments can help to avoid most health and safety issues on construction sites. Worker consultation on safety is also critical, he added.

“Taking short cuts with safety on construction sites is not an option,” WorkSafe Regional Operations Manager Brooke Grey said in the media release.

“All too often after a serious injury, inspectors hear ‘but it was only a five-minute job’. Short cuts can end in tragedy with a cost far more valuable than time or money.”

For more details, visit WorkSafe and WorkCover NSW

Published on 27 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.

Around 34 construction workers are seriously injured each day, according to the latest injury and fatality figures from Safe Work Australia.

Some 12,300 employees made a workers compensation claim requiring one or more weeks off work in 2012–13, according to ‘Work-Related Injuries and Fatalities in Construction, Australia, 2003 to 2013’.

These preliminary workers compensation figures equate to 34 workers seriously injured per day.

The median cost of these preliminary claims and time spent off work are not available as “some claims remain open and the time lost and associated payments can increase”, the report says.

Nevertheless, in the previous year, 12,600 employees made a workers compensation claim requiring one or more weeks off work, according to the report.

During this time, a seriously injured construction worker typically had 6.4 working weeks off work and received a median compensation payment of $11,000, the report adds.

For more details, visit the figures

Published on 27 August 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin enewsletter – available free every fortnight direct to your email.  Subscribe online today.


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