28 February 2020

WorkSafe construction blitz shuts down 70 building sites so far this year

| Ian Bushnell
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Professional engineer

The residential construction industry needs to lift its game, says ACT Work Safety Commissioner, Greg Jones. Photo: File.

The ACT’s work safety watchdog has shut down more than 70 residential building sites since it began inspection blitzes in the wake of two workers being killed in incidents at Denman Prospect.

WorkSafe ACT, which has just completed the fourth week of its latest blitz, said the sites were shut down due to imminent safety risks to workers.

It had issued 128 notices, including includes 54 Prohibition Notices and several Infringement Notices, after 84 site inspections in its second blitz on building sites.

ACT Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said that while compliance had improved slightly from the first blitz conducted in January, there was still a long way to go and the residential construction industry needed to lift its game and ensure that safety standards were in place to protect workers.

“We are still seeing concerning issues with working from heights, unsafe scaffolding, electrical issues, no safety planning through Safe Work Method Statements, and potential slips, trips and falls,” he said.

“These are the same issues we see time and again, and it is clear that many builders and contractors in this sector do not consider the safety of their workers as important. I think this attitude is completely unacceptable and I can assure all operators in the residential construction sector that WorkSafe will be holding them to account.”

In total, over a six-week period since the beginning of the year, more than 112 inspections have been carried out and a total of almost 200 notices issued.

“We will continue to focus on the residential construction sector as we want everyone to be safe at work,” Mr Jones said.

“If any worker is concerned about what they have been asked to do or they consider that safety standards are not being met then they should contact WorkSafe, anonymously if necessary, and we will follow up any concerns.

“No deadline or paycheck is worth risking your workers’ safety. Make safety your number one priority for all tasks, no matter how small or simple the job may seem to be,” he said.

To report an incident or dangerous occurrence, visit Access Canberra.

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