Who is to Blame for Construction Accidents?

Source : Seattle Municipal Archives

According to Australian legislation both employers and workers can be held responsible for construction site incidents.

Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are provided with a safe working environment and safe conditions under which to work. Assessing the risks on sites as well as developing Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are all part of an employer/contractors duty under the law.

Those in charge of the site also need to provide workers with training for them to operate safely on the site, including how to operate with risks specific to the site and emergency procedures. They should also provide sufficient supervision for new or inexperienced workers or for very high risk activities. Failure to provide training or supervision can result in legal and financial consequences for the business.

Workers also carry a responsibility under legislation. Workers need to operate on site in a manner that will not endanger their own lives or the safety of their co-workers. They must also abide by the training and instruction provided by their employers. Workers who endanger the lives of co-workers or the public through neglect of their duties or in contradiction of their safety training may be held liable to hefty fines and disciplinary prosecution.

Safety is the responsibility of all involved in construction work and should be seen as central to construction work rather than as an inconvenience because a price can never be put on human life.