Importance of The White Card
Road construction and in fact all types of construction are high risk activities which require workers to be properly trained, adequately supervised and alert at all times to avoid injury and possibly death.
Despite the hazards associated with work on a construction site, there are also many benefits which is why construction is a popular sector for employment, not only in Oz but internationally. Construction is one of those sectors that is depended upon by society to ensure sustained economic growth and to support the nation’s growing population.
Road construction workers also play a vital role in infrastructure development and the economy and these workers too need to be properly trained before being allowed on a road construction zone/site. In Oz all construction workers are required to complete induction training, referred to as The White Card and an accident that happened on a North Texas road construction site is an example of why this training is so important.
The incident is an example of what happens when someone working on a construction site hits into a vehicle belonging to a member of the public – lives are lost and futures are changed.
An excerpt explains the impact of an accident at a road construction zone in Texas,
On September 13, 2013 that happened to T.D. and Charlyne Mullikin. Days before their 65th wedding anniversary, a dump truck crossed the median and landed on top of their car. Traffic came to a halt for hours. The lives of their children and grandchildren came to a halt in an instant.
Their son, Tim Mullikin, fights back tears talking about the horrible call from the Dallas police officer who gave him the news. He said, “Is your father T.D. Mullikin? I said yes. He said, is your mother?” Mullikin looks down struggling to finish his sentence. “And I said yes. I said, ‘Are they dead?’ And he said yes.”
Mullikin and his two sisters described how “pizza night with pappa” and Sunday morning breakfasts ended. They showed pictures and laughed saying they had no idea they were the “Leave it to Beaver” family growing up. Now, they are in the middle of a court battle. They are not sure who to point fingers at because they say no one seems to be taking responsibility for what happened.
“It’s not that my parents died. It’s that somebody killed them,” says Cheryl Fairbanks, one of their daughters.
This tragic story is a reminder of why training is so important for construction workers especially those involved in high risk activities. In Australia federal law requires all workers to complete White Card training as well as any additional site specific training. Those involved in high risk work must be in possession of the necessary high risk licence.
While the White Card course teaches workers about the hazards they will face in the construction industry in general, employers will be responsible for providing any additional training that may be necessary to ensure workers are prepared for their specific work on their particular worksite – as ach site differs so will the hazards work presents and the control measures necessary.