A WorkSafe Victoria safety blitz conducted in Western Victoria last month revealed 90 safety breaches during the operation that inspected 120 housing construction sites.
The WorkSafe inspectors visited almost 120 housing construction sites around Bendigo, Ballarat, Mildura, Warrnambool and Geelong as part of an operation dubbed Operation SafeSite.
The sites visited were warned beforehand of the inspector’s visits, so some businesses did heed the warnings while others didn’t Follow-up visits will be conducted in the coming weeks to make sure that all health and safety breaches have been addressed.
Read what SafetyCulture.com.au had to say about the blitz:
WorkSafe Chief Executive, Denise Cosgrove said everyone should be concerned with workplace safety.
“It was pleasing to see some sites had heeded warnings about the blitz and made sure safety was up to scratch before inspectors arrived,” said Ms Cosgrove.
Fifty one improvement notices were issued by site inspectors requiring businesses to fix health and safety breaches. Thirty nine breaches were identified and were dealt with on the spot.
Ms Cosgrove said workers and businesses can take simple steps to improve site safety.
“Having the site fenced, kept clean of building rubble and waste and ensuring electrical tools are safe are just some of the simple steps that can make a real difference to workers and public safety.
“The risks on housing sites are well known and so are the control measures. Safety doesn’t just happen – it requires planning, having effective controls in place and regular supervision to ensure the site remains safe,” she said.
Employers should ensure before inspectors arrive in their areas that they are ready for the blitz. Employers need to ensure that their staff are properly trained in site safety in the form of the white card before entering a construction site. Employers must also conduct the necessary, regular hazard identification and risk assessments to ensure that they continue to protect workers.
While most employers are aware of their responsibilities, the number of breaches and notices handed out by authorities are evidence that safety is being neglected on many construction sites.
Part of an employer’s responsibility includes providing and maintaining safe plant, machinery and equipment. This is important to a safe system of work and provision of a safe work environment. Other factors that are crucial are controlling entry onto the site to avoid unauthorized persons from entering this dangerous workplace. All construction sites should be separated using fencing, accompanied by the appropriate signage to indicate that the danger of entering the site.
Other risks to control are preventing falls from heights or objects falling and injuring workers. Employers can do this by implementing plans to manage risks and ensuring that workers are trained in this safety management.
There is no point in providing all the necessary safety precautions if workers are not aware of them. That is why training and education is so vital to maintaining a safe and healthy working environment. Providing site specific training to workers involves proving information of emergency procedures and exit routes etc. that are unique to the particular construction site. Workers also need to be trained on working on construction sites in generally. The White Card training is now national and easily obtainable online.