Construction sites along the Murray River from Cobram and Barooga to Corowa are being urged to review their existing site health and safety practices ahead of site inspections later this month.
Victorian and NSW health and safety inspectors will be active along the Victoria and NSW border this week in an ongoing campaign to promote construction site safety in the region.
Farm injury claims fell by more than 14 per cent in the past 12 months and are now at a 10-year low, according to new figures released today by the Victorian WorkCover Authority.
Inspectors from Victoria and NSW are visiting building sites in the Albury and Wodonga region this week as part of the Cross Border Project, which aims to alleviate confusion about construction site safety requirements on each side of the border.
Since the project began in June last year, inspectors have already been able to assist more than 150 businesses by clarifying obligations of both employers and workers and similarities of working between two states.
Victorian WorkCover Authority Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, said the visits would help provide certainty to domestic, commercial and civil construction companies that worked along the border.
“In practical terms, there are very few differences between the states when it comes to construction safety,” Mr Neist said.
“No matter which state you are working in, it’s important to have a systematic approach to worksite safety. The key is a proper plan, implementing that plan and then monitoring work to ensure it is being done safely.
“Some of the main focuses of the visits include ensuring employers understand the importance of developing Safe Work Method Statements that accurately reflect tasks, ensuring all electrical equipment is tested and tagged, and keeping worksites secure to prevent unauthorised access.
“Inspectors are also reminding employers and workers to pay particular attention to site house-keeping. Untidy sites can lead to trips and falls and increase the risk of workers suffering sprained ankles or manual handling-related injuries.
Mr Neist said the campaign would help encourage better site practices, safety planning and supervision, which has been demonstrated by a drop in injury claims across the Wodonga region since the project began.
“The aim is to help reduce any confusion about working across the border while ensuring construction sites make safety their number one priority,” he said.
WorkCover NSW Work Health and Safety Division Acting Director, Operations, Tony Williams said this week’s visits aimed to continue the safety and productivity improvements that had been seen on Border construction since the project commenced.
“Inspectors will provide advice and assistance to local builders and sub-contractors about how to make their construction sites safer,” Mr Williams said.
“This project is addressing the misperceptions about the two state’s safety laws being significantly different and improving construction industry productivity throughout the border region, so that more construction industry workers are returning home safely to their families and friends at the end of the working day.”
The construction industry is one of the highest risk industries in NSW with 1209 injuries and illnesses, including three fatalities in south-west NSW in the three years to 2010/11 at a cost of $14.3 million to the NSW workers compensation system.
The Victorian WorkCover Authority and WorkCover NSW will visit Albury and Wodonga from 16-20 June. The project is supported by key construction industry stakeholders from both states.
Victorian WorkCover Authority: Kate Fawcett – (03) 9641 1809 or 0478 305 640.
WorkCover NSW: (02) 4321 5474 or 0413 186 799.
Businesses in the Wodonga region will receive a visit from teams of WorkSafe inspectors next week.
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.
WorkSafe is investigating the death of a man who fell from a rescue helicopter while being winched to safety on Saturday.
A project to raise the awareness among local construction businesses of the ease and similarities of working on either side of the border will begin in Yarrawonga next week.
The Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) and WorkCover NSW have begun a joint safety project this week with local construction businesses to raise awareness of the similarities and ease of working on either side of the border.
WorkSafe is investigating Victoria’s first workplace farm fatality for the year following the death of a worker in Elphinstone on Sunday.
A worker has received serious injuries to her arms after they became trapped in a food processing machine at a manufacturing plant in Shepparton early this morning.
WorkSafe will return to a farm north of Euroa this morning to continue investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of a farmer yesterday.
WorkSafe’s annual business roadshow comes to north-east Victoria this week with briefings being held at Shepparton (Wednesday) and Wodonga (Thursday).
A drilling rig supervisor who told an inexperienced 21-year-old man to drive a truck with defective brakes and no seat belt down a steep slope before the vehicle crashed, killing the driver, has been sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for three years.
A Wodonga company has been ordered to pay $10,000 to the court fund and been put on to a 12 month undertaking to be of good behaviour after a customer was hurt when shelves collapsed on to him in February last year.