Construction workers and contractors in the ACT should be very concerned by figures which show that the state has the highest serious injury rate in Oz. In fact according to figures released by Safe Work Australia, there has been a 17 per cent increase in serious accidents on worksites in the state between 2011-2012.
It is no wonder the ACT Work Safety Inspectorate begins its 3 week blitz on construction sites this week, as the state records the highest serious injury rate in the country.
According to an article on CanberraTimes.com.au the inspectors this week will focus on safety issues such as falls from heights, signage, fencing, amenities, housekeeping, scaffolding, electrical test and tagging, white cards and personal protective equipment.
The following excerpt from the article explains further:
Tasmania had been slightly ahead of the ACT in 2010-11 for injuries requiring a week or more off work, but Mr McCabe said he could not imagine the ACT would not eclipse Tasmania with a 17 per cent increase.
When accidents requiring 12 weeks or more off work are tallied, the ACT already leads the nation with 9.5 accidents for every 1000 workers in 2010-11. This is well above Tasmania, on 5.6 accidents, with the national average 5.2.
While the ACT’s construction workforce has remained fatality-free for the past 12 months, just last month Mr McCabe warned of a spate of serious accidents including two worksites being shut down over dangerous scaffolding and one investigation into a metal pipe being dropped from a scaffold that pierced an electric cable and narrowly missed a gas pipe.
Tuesday will see a blitz targeting residential construction across Canberra with inspectors issuing new on-the-spot fines of up to $3600. Inspectors will look at falls from heights, signage, fencing, amenities, housekeeping, scaffolding, electrical test and tagging, white cards and personal protective equipment.
The greatest risks associated with construction work, according to the number of incidents recorded are work from heights, electrical hazards and being struck by moving objects or vehicles. In order for workers to be kept safe and to fulfil their legal obligation to provide a safe work environment and safe system of work is to identify the hazards before work begins and assess the risks associated with these hazards.
Once the hazards have been identified and the risks associated with them also assessed, principal contractors should look at alternate methods of accomplishing the same goal, in other words replacing the hazardous activity with something less dangerous. If this is not possible, as is often the case, it is vital to plan and implement control measures to ensure that workers aren’t unnecessarily placed at risk.
It is also vital that all workers on site are adequately trained and supervised. Training involves both White Card training and site specific training to familiarise them with any control measures and procedures unique to the site.
Keep in mind that during the blitz, inspectors will be checking that every worker on site has completed their white card general construction safety training and are in possession of their white card, if not they will be issuing on-the-spot fines.