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South Australia has suspended three construction codes of practice in response to a review by the state’s Small Business Commissioner.

The South Australian Minister for Industrial Relations, John Rau suspended the Construction Work Code of Practice; Preventing Falls in Housing Construction Code of Practice; and Safe Design of Structures Code of Practice.

The Small Business Commissioner Mike Sinkunas reviewed the codes in consultation with the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and the Master Builders South Australia.

Sinkunas concluded that an unintended consequence of the existing codes would be non-compliance by many in the industry.

“Many [participants] do not have the time, skills, or even inclination to read and digest the voluminous amounts of information and associated paperwork that is seen as ambiguous, confusing and not really relevant to their situation,” his report said.

“The implementation of the current Codes will lead to increased costs to the industry and these costs would be passed onto consumers.”

According to Rau “it is prudent that the Government suspend the Codes of Practice and consult with the building industry, unions and the Small Business Commissioner in order to improve these Codes”.

Rau said during the suspension that all businesses still had a duty to provide safe workplaces.

However, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is concerned that cost rather than safety is driving the suspension and review of the codes.

The CFMEU’s South Australia State Secretary of Construction Aaron Cartledge told Adelaide’s Radio Digital the union hadn’t been consulted about the review and if the codes were watered down this would increase safety risks.

He also rejected claims that the codes were too costly to implement.

The HIA sees it differently, saying the “decision is a victory for commonsense bearing in mind that the Codes were designed without consideration of their impact upon the residential industry.

“It is important that unnecessary impediments to this part of the industry are withdrawn given that we are coming off three years of significant reduction in activity in South Australia with respect to new home starts.”

For more details, visit the Minister, Small Business Commissioner, CFMEU and HIA.

Published on 21 November 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The revised draft code of practice for construction work has been released by Safe Work Australia.

As reported in the previous e-bulletin the model code of practice for construction work is being changed to include additional guidance on housing construction, but the revised draft code was yet to be released.

However, the changes to the code are now available.

They include more examples of housing construction work.

Terms such as ‘housing construction work’, ‘builder’ and ‘owner-builder’ have been clarified further.

A revised safe work method statement template to clarify its use for high-risk work, a work health and safety management plan template and additional guidance on the duties of designers are also included.

The draft code is open for public until Wednesday 2 October.

For more details, visit the draft code.

Published on 12 September 2013 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.

The model code of practice for construction work is being changed to include guidance on housing construction.

The revised draft code Managing Risk in Construction Work is expected ‘to make the existing code more accessible to the housing construction industry’, says Safe Work Australia in a media release.

Safe Work Australia members are currently considering which changes will be highlighted in the public comment document.

Once this is finalised the draft code will be released for six weeks.

Meanwhile, the public comment period has been extended to 27 September for the draft Code of Practice: Managing Risks in Stevedoring.

Safe Work Australia members have also agreed to update the list of scheduled workers compensation diseases.

The revised list is expected to be available after August 2014.

For more details, visit Safe Work Australia.

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