ACT has Worst Construction Safety in the Country

An inquiry commissioned by The ACT government has released it’s results revealing that The ACT has the worst safety record in Oz. With 1 in 40 workers likely to be seriously injured on the job each year in The ACT, the alarming statistics prove that the region has an injury record that is twice the national average.

The inquiry found that The ACT has the highest deaths on construction sites and the most number of serious injuries. The inquiry was sparked by the concern after the death of Ben Catanzariti in July which led ACT Workplace Safety Minister Simon Corbell to commission the report with the support of Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.

Read what had to say about the inquiry’s findings:

The report finds not only does the ACT have the highest proportion of workplace deaths per head of population – with three men dying on construction sites and one painter dying at a private home in the past 12 months, but the rate of serious injuries – or those which require 12 or more weeks off work – is almost double the national average at 9.5 claims for 1000 workers, compared with a national average of 5.2.


In the broader category of injuries requiring at least one or more weeks off work, the ACT has 24.5 claims per 1000 workers, although it is beaten by Tasmania on 25.2 – both coming well ahead of the other states and territories and the national average of 18.7.


 ”Based on these figures, each year one in every 40 territory construction workers can expect to receive an injury at work that results in them being off work for at least a week, and in some cases, much longer,” the report says.


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Interestingly after working the industry for 10 years, the odds of injury reduce from a 1 in 4 chance.  In fact it is expected that a construction worker a day will be injured in Canberra.  Reviewers in the inquiry were shocked and appalled by the attitude and complacency towards safety on construction sites across Canberra.

The biggest problems were found on smaller construction sites. The inquiry found that the larger construction firms were more cautious of safety than the smaller contractors who flouted the law regarding safety procedures on site.

According to industrial disaster and safety expert, Professor Andrew Hopkins from the Australian National University, in order to achieve safety on Canberra’s construction sites, safety experts need to be given more authority in the structure of organisations and direct communication with the company’s head execs as well as more inspectors to be engaged in tackling potential safety breaches. Another helpful undertaking would be pursue high profile cases to deter others in the industry.

The post went on to state:

While the ACT has less than 1 per cent of building and construction activity in the country, it has recorded four of the 34 industrial deaths which occurred nationally in the past year. Mr Corbell expected the report to contain a call for increased funding for WorkSafe ACT and an increased number of inspectors hired to police standards across the construction industry in particular, but he said ”the issue is not going to be resolved solely through enforcement alone”.


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