Monday 11 November 2013

Inspectors to focus on border construction safety

A project to raise the awareness with local construction businesses of the similarities and ease of working on either side of the border will begin in Echuca and Moama this week.

Inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW will visit construction sites from November 11-15 to help businesses understand their work health and safety obligations when operating in a border town.                                                                

WorkSafe construction manager, Allan Beacom said a key focus of the project was to ease any confusion about work health and safety obligations.

“We know many local construction businesses are based in one state but operate in another state. Our inspectors will help these businesses understand the safety requirements of each state and highlight the many similarities between NSW and Victorian laws,” he said.

“For example, Victoria and NSW have the same or very similar requirements when it comes to high risk work licences and plant operator competencies. Each state also accepts the other’s proof of construction induction training.” 

Almost 10 per cent of Campaspe Shire’s 930 workplace injuries over the past five years were construction-related, costing more than $22.8 million in treatment, wages and other expenses.

Across the state, 10 tradies are injured badly enough every day to make a compensation claim.

“We want the visits to not only clarify health and safety laws but also to create a safety culture on site which will ultimately lead to less injuries,” Mr Beacom said.

General Manager of WorkCover NSW’s Work Health and Safety Division, John Watson said the project aimed to make border construction sites safer and more productive.

“In the three years to July 2011, there were 1209 injuries and illnesses in the NSW construction industry, including three fatalities in south west NSW at a cost of $14.3 million to the NSW workers compensation system,” Mr Watson said.

“Regardless of which state you work in, the requirements for a safe worksite are the same in NSW and Victoria.

“During the visits, inspectors will be paying particular attention to site housekeeping, planning, supervision and ensuring safe work method statements are in place.

“By the conclusion of this project we hope to address any construction industry misperceptions and have safer and more productive construction sites throughout the border region.”

The upcoming visits follow similar cross-border construction projects in Albury/Wodonga and Yarrawonga/Mulwala earlier in the year.   

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: WorkSafe Victoria: Sophie Torrens on 9641 1809 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. WorkCover NSW Media Unit: 4321 5474 or 0413 186 799

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.