It’s the holidays but that doesn’t mean we can relax and take it easy if we’re on the worksite. In fact we need to be extra cautious around this time of year because statistics show a rise in workplace injuries around this period.
Apprentices who have just started work in the high risk construction industry are the most vulnerable and 2 cases that occurred in The ACT recently are examples of this.
The 2 incidents prompted a warning from WorkSafe ACT to the local construction industry to “put safety first”.
In one incident a young apprentice partially severed 2 fingers and a thumb with a power saw on a building site in Denman Prospect. The first year apprentice was taken to hospital for surgery.
In another incident which happened in October, a school based apprentice fell 7 metres at a construction site in Gungahlin.
The 16 year old worker’s fall is under investigation, as is the Denman Prospect site incident.
Following the fall incident, WorkSafe launched an investigation into the Master Builders’ on-site supervision of the apprentice.
Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones expressed his concern about the injury,
“This injury to a young worker is of great concern to WorkSafe and with a number of recent workplace incidents occurring in Canberra, I urge everyone in the construction industry to ensure safety remains the most important priority,” Mr Jones said.
“From employers and industry representatives; to workers and unions; government and consumers; we all have a role to play in making sure that safety remains a top priority in the workplace.
“I wish to emphasise to everyone to follow their safe operating procedures carefully, make sure all workers are properly inducted into each worksite and to fully supervise apprentices and other inexperienced workers.”
While the Master Builders apprentice program is being looked at, Master Builders ACT executive director Kirk Coningham said he was confident in the organisation’s apprenticeship programs. He highlighted the fact that the program had remained injury-free for 15 years. He went on to state:
“You can never be competent in the use of a tool until you’ve used the tool,” he said.
“We know this kid is in good spirits, he’s worried this will take time out of his training.”
WorkSafe ACT is also investigating an incident where a worker on Canberra’s light rail project was thrown two metres by an electric shock.
Let’s remember to put safety first and avoid any nasty incidents that could spoil the holidays and potentially ruin the new year.