7 September 2020

'Appalling': Work safety blitz claims another swag of construction sites

| Ian Bushnell
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Construction sites

More sites will be shut down if safety practices do not improve, says WorkSafe ACT. Photo: File.

A further 13 residential construction sites have been shut down as part of the ongoing work safety blitz across Canberra.

WorkSafe ACT has ordered one company to stop work, and effectively shut down 13 of their residential construction sites at various locations across Canberra after a routine compliance inspection in Watson last week as part of Operation Safe Prospect.

Work Health and Safety Commissioner Jacqueline Agius said WorkSafe ACT inspectors issued the company a prohibition notice when they were unable to find any evidence that the company had safe work management systems in place, and warned other builders that they would suffer the same fate if their sites were not compliant.

WorkSafe ACT issued a range of other notices at various worksites in Watson, including six prohibition notices which closed down five sites owned by four different companies, more than 30 improvement notices to 10 different companies and one infringement notice.

“This is an appalling number of safety concerns which could easily have led to fatalities or injuries in our community,” Ms Agius said.

“I want to send a clear message to employers that it’s time to lift their game and start making safety a priority for their workers.

“As a result of Operation Safe Prospect, you can expect to see our inspectors at residential construction sites across Canberra; we won’t hesitate to issue notices and shut down more worksites as we move to stamp out bad safety behaviour.”

WorkSafe ACT would not reveal the details of the company, and the actions relate only to single-dwelling residences.

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The amount of labourers working under sham contracting conditions needs to be investigated as well; people working a physically demanding job, in inclement weather conditions, and often subject to all forms of abuse are routinely making less than $25 an hour, while expecting to use the ABN.

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