For anyone involved in housing construction, WorkCover NSW has recently launched a safety project aimed specifically at this type of construction.
The project was motivated by the 150 fatalities and injuries which have occurred in the state’s industry over the last 2 years.
Now statistics have been released which show that the industry has more than double the amount of workers compensation claims for permanent disability than any other industry.
John Watson, the General Manager of WorkCover’s NSW Work Health and Safety Division, said that the industry should work together with WorkCover to improve the health and safety of construction workers on housing construction sites.
An article on SafetyCulture.com.au explains more about the safety initiative:
“It’s also one of the State’s highest risk with 1,312 workers compensation claims in the two years to July 2012 at a cost of $22 million to the NSW workers compensation scheme.
“After consulting with industry business and worker representatives to identify the major safety and return to work issues, an action plan has been developed which outlines how we will work together to improve safety and productivity on the State’s construction sites so that fewer families experience the devastating impact of a workplace injury.”
According to John Watson, the plan will cover 4 safety issues relevant to housing construction sites. These 4 plans include the movement of people and materials on housing construction sites, falls through voids, exposure to the sun and delayed recovery as well as return to work information.
Each one of these issues is important in their own right and according to statistics they are the most to blame for the injuries and fatalities relating to this type of construction site. Once again Mr Watson urged WorkCover and the industry to work together to achieve the best possible outcomes.
The SafetyCulture.com.au article quotes Watson as saying:
“The Focus On Industry – House Construction Project will involve industry working collaboratively with WorkCover to identify and promote ways to manage high risk activities on house construction sites.
Mr Watson went on to explain that this will be done through on-site support and advice, safety incentives and encouraging people to return to work and the benefits of early recovery. Watson went on to state:
“I’m confident that through the support of business, industry and workers, this project will lead to improvements in safety and productivity in the NSW house construction industry and see more injured workers back in sustainable work faster.”
WorkCover NSW went on to detail a snap-shot of the NSW housing construction industry and the conditions which required and facilitated the project:
The NSW house construction industry is comprised of almost 9,000 businesses employing 44,000 people
The majority are small businesses and sole traders, based in the Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra basin
Eighty four percent of industry employment is located in Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra-Wollongong
Eighty one percent of claims come from the metropolitan region
It is important to note that OHS training is the mandatory knowledge foundation for anyone working the construction industry. This entails undergoing White Card training which covers the most relevant topics to the housing construction industry as determined by WorkCover NSW. Employers should also remember to check that all workers have completed this compulsory training and are in possession of a White Card to avoid many of the accidents spoken about above.