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Posts Tagged ‘safety’

In the construction industry it is important for everyone involved with work to be aware of and understand their responsibilities and fulfil them to avoid fines and injuries.

According to Australian legislation employers and workers both share responsible in the safety of a construction site. Principal contractors, sub-contractors, permanent employees, contract workers and temps all need to understand workplace health and safety as it pertains to work on a construction site.

Construction sites present a wealth of opportunity for injury, so it is important for you as a worker to know what to do in the event of an injury in order to minimise its effect on your long term health. Because accidents are so common on construction sites, it is important to be aware of the dangers in order to avoid them.

Everyone involved with construction work needs to ask themselves the question, Am I fulfilling my health and safety responsibilities?

Employers have a responsibility to ensure workers are provided with a safe working environment and safe conditions under which to work. Identifying the hazards 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. Employers need to ensure that the appropriate control measures are put in place and workers are trained on these measures as well as all aspects of construction safety.

In addition to ensuring everyone on site is in possession of a White Card, employers must also ensure that workers are trained on site specific safety issues, such as emergency response procedures etc.

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.

But the law doesn’t place all the responsibility on employers, workers also have a role to play in ensuring site safety. 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.But perhaps the greatest penalty of all for workers is the possible injuries they may sustain, some which may be life threatening.

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. Many employers make the mistake of emphasising the importance of productivity at the cost of safety, it is these employers who end up losing more because safety incidents are costly.



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There are a number of hazards presented by work in the confined space of a tunnel, shaft or trench. Employers need to identify whether this hazard is present and also the hazards associated with work in these spaces (ie. tunnels, shafts and trenches). The employer will thereafter have to assess the risks to workers.

Once the hazards are identified and risks associated with them are assessed, employers should attempt to eliminate these hazards altogether or substitute with a less hazardous activity which accomplishes the same purposes. This may not be possible and therefore control measures need to be implemented to minimise the risks associated with these hazards.

Also the building and construction industry involves a lot of excavation work and there are some hazards that relate specifically to work in confined spaces which members of the construction industry need to be aware of such as

  • seepage and build-up of gases and liquids from adjacent plant,
  • installations, service lines or processes;
  • flammable gases or vapours from sewerage or from the u
  • .se of solvents;
  • too little or too much oxygen in sewers;
  • build-up of harmful levels of exhaust gases, including carbon monoxidefrom plant being used in or near to the space;
  • too little or too much oxygen caused by processes such as oxy-cutting;
  • either extremely hot or extremely cold working conditions
  • exposure to biological hazards such as leptospirosis and Escherichia coli (E coli) in sewers;
  • harmful levels of atmospheric contaminants from welding, sewerage or using solvents with PVC piping;

Possible Control Measures Include:

1. Isolation of plant and services: Employers should eliminate any substance or condition that can be introduced from a plant or by services that are connected to the space. If elimination is not possible you should reduce the risks as far as is practicable.

2. Ventilation: In most trenches, shafts and tunnels ventilation is bad. Employers should install ventilation by mechanical means in order for a safe atmosphere to be established and maintained.

Any exhaust emissions from petrol or diesel-driven plant should be vented outside the confined space in such a way that they cannot contaminate the air in the confined space or contaminate air being supplied to the space.

While not all shafts and tunnels are confined spaces, some will need ventilation to remove any contaminants in the air which may make breathing difficult or hazardous. Ventilation in these spaces should also reduce humidity and maintain a good oxygen level in the space. For small tunnels, whether or not they are confined spaces should have additional ventilation.

Also tunnels’, shafts’ and trenches’ entry and exit openings present another hazard. A major issue related to this is having entry and exit openings that are large enough for a properly equipped person to pass through safely. The size and number of openings also have an impact on the degree of natural ventilation and worker’s safety within the confined space.


Everyone engaging in work on a construction site, including painters is at risk of injury and possibly death which is why the law dictates that all construction workers must undergo construction safety training.

Painters need to obtain their White Card before beginning work on a construction site in Oz, just like any other tradesperson. But in addition to fulfilling a legal requirement, painters who undergo white card training are also learning life-saving skills that come in handy on a building site.

The truth is painters usually come in at the end of a renovation or construction project however there are still hazards that may risk their health and safety and painters need to be aware of these hazards prior to beginning work in order to guard against them.

Perhaps the greatest risk that painters in the building industry are faced with is the risk of falling while engaging in work from heights. Any work from above 2 metres can be particularly dangerous and needs to be managed accordingly. Painters need to keep in mind that even falls from relatively low heights can cause serious injury and possibly death, so don’t only guard against falls when the height is very high. If there is a risk of falling more than 2m, controls need to be put in place for painters, that may include edge protection, catch platforms etc.

Painters should ensure that the appropriate work platforms are utilised when work from heights is being undertaken and they should also ensure that there are no penetrations or holes left uncovered.

Apart from work from heights the next hazard that painters are often affected by are the very tools and equipment they need to do their job. Painters need to ensure that their tools and equipment are well maintained and in good condition before beginning work. Also workers should only use tools for their intended purpose and not improvise by interchanging tools and equipment between different tasks.

The issue of good housekeeping is also one that painters should keep in mind because it is part of their work responsibilities and a failure to ensure good housekeeping can cause serious ramifications for them. Painters must develop a habit of keeping their working area clear of clutter and tools. It is important that they do not create a tripping hazard. One way of avoiding this is to keep material neatly stacked and out of the walkway. Also waste should be disposed of appropriately in the area designated for waste.

Painters like other workers on the site also have a responsibility to work in a way that does not put their co-workers at risk, this includes ensuring good housekeeping and not discarding tools by throwing them down to lower levels or the ground.

Another risk that painters must learn to manage is the exposure to the sun.They must ensure that appropriate PPE is utilised as well as proper skin protection in the form of sunscreen. They must also keep hydrated because a sun stroke or other heat related side effect may prove directly or indirectly fatal.

These are just a few of the most common hazards painters are faced with on construction sites, however there are many more and what a worker is faced with will differ from site to site. That is why even painters must undergo White Card training to learn the hazards and control measures necessary for work on a building site.


One of the important aspects of construction safety is ensuring that apprentice and young workers are properly trained, supervised and supported on a site to ensure their safety and the safety of everyone of site. No one worker is more important than another on a construction site however some workers who are more inexperienced or naive may need more attention than others because of the lack of experience and safety know-how.

Often these workers are just more immature and not as accustomed to the ways of the world including common knowledge safety. That is why these workers are more vulnerable. They also tend to keep quiet about their concerns for the same reason which is why they require more support and open communication. This channel of open communication is exactly the topic of Work Safe’s latest safety campaign aimed at young workers across all industries.

The aim of the videos is to educate workers about the need to speak up about safety and show them the consequences for not doing so.

Watch the Young Workers Stories in Video,

Beth’s story:


Nick’s story: