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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.

The owner of a roofing company has been hit with a nine-month suspended jail sentence for threatening and intimidating a WorkCover NSW inspector.

The business owner threatened and intimidated the inspector while the inspector was visiting the owner’s workplace and for a number of days after the visit, said WorkCover NSW in a media release. During the visit, the inspector had asked the owner not to work at heights unless he and his worker used the required safety equipment, WorkCover added.

Following the incident the owner was charged and prosecuted for not following a WorkCover inspector’s direction and obstructing the WorkCover inspector. He pled guilty to breaching work health and safety (WHS) laws in NSW and was fined a total of $16,000.

The owner was also ordered to pay $5000 to cover WorkCover’s legal costs.

“Inspectors are required to ensure workplaces comply with obligations under the Work Health & Safety Act. Inspectors have legislated powers to enter workplaces and assess site safety and workplace compliance. Employers need to respect this and allow inspectors to do their job to reduce the risk of serious injury or harm,” said Peter Dunphy, WorkCover’s Executive Director of Work Health and Safety, in a media release.

“WorkCover will take appropriate action, including enforcement action through the courts, with regard to any conduct that subjects its inspectors to the risk of harm to their health and safety.”

For more details, visit WorkCover NSW

Published on 18 June 2015 in the NSCA Foundation Safe-T-Bulletin.

Inspectors have conducted 118 audits and issued 32 notices to construction companies in New South Wales as part of a safety improvement campaign.

As reported in an earlier e-bulletin, WorkCover NSW is targeting commercial construction sites in the six-week campaign.

“During these site visits inspectors are paying particular attention to site management safety plans, including emergency evacuation procedures, and high-risk activities such as crane operation, erection, dismantling and maintenance of scaffold and ‘hot’ work procedures,” said WorkCover NSW Work Health and Safety Division General Manager John Watson.

“To date we have spoken with 324 employers (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking – PCBU), and issued 32 notices relating to identified work health and safety issues including electrical leads and powerpoints, working at heights, demolition, Return to work, emergency procedures and scaffolding.”

WorkCover will meet with employers and unions after the blitz to review the state of safety in the commercial construction sector.

“We may also choose to extend the blitz should we identify any negative trends in site management,” Watson added.

For more detail visit the blitz update.

Published on 10 April 2014 in NSCA Safe-T-Bulletin.


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