WorkSafe, police crack down on illegal construction work during lockdown

Ian Bushnell 16 August 2021 11
Housing development

Inspectors are out and about on the ACT’s building sites. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

WorkSafe ACT has ordered a blitz of construction sites after detecting residential construction work and trades being undertaken illegally during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Police issued eight infringement notices on Sunday, including six from a building site in Taylor, the most in one day since the pandemic began.

Work Health and Safety Commissioner Jacqueline Agius said WorkSafe ACT Inspectors working with police were on the lookout for any non-essential work being done in support of the public health directions over the lockdown period.

She said sites faced random inspections on weekends along with usual visits during normal business hours.

WorkSafe ACT continues to ensure health and safety of ACT workplaces to both continue to provide essential services and to ensure the safety and security of those workplaces that must close,” she said.

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She said that some major construction sites were provided a grace period to ensure the safety and security of these sites over the coming week, but inspectors continued to find non-essential work being undertaken.

“WorkSafe ACT continues to regulate workplaces during the lockdown and we are working closely with industry and unions to do so,” Ms Agius said

She said that the only work that could be done over this period was through approval of emergency work or make-safe provisions, and a WorkSafe ACT inspector must approve it before proceeding.

“We are out in the ACT and on the ground as we are needed,” Ms Agius said.

“If non-essential work is found by an inspector, there will be consequences. All work on commercial and residential construction sites must cease to support breaking the chain of infection in the Territory.”

Ms Agius said that WorkSafe ACT would continue to do its job as the work health and safety regulator during the lockdown period.

“We are available both over the phone and by email to respond to any workplace issues as normal. You can contact us and we can, and will, respond accordingly,” she said.

WorkSafe ACT can be reached on 13 22 81 during business hours, after hours on 0419 120 028 or email at

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11 Responses to WorkSafe, police crack down on illegal construction work during lockdown
Webster Ian Webster Ian 1:30 pm 17 Aug 21

Good Job worksafe Act and keep work sites safe look what happen to Sydney towers .

paulmuster paulmuster 7:52 am 17 Aug 21

I hope that the labourers, apprentices and low income earners within the trade sector are supported through the lockdown because they will need it.

The high net worth individuals who are dirsupted, on the other hand, should look after themselves. There are much more desparate cases out there who should be prioritised than people with deep pockets and short arms.

Peter McDonald Peter McDonald 9:49 pm 16 Aug 21

Many tradies moved here and are renting or living out of their cars. It will be hard to get them to come back.

Anthony Chase Anthony Chase 8:42 pm 16 Aug 21

It's a pity worksafe don't do anything about dodgy building standards in ACT.

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 8:44 am 17 Aug 21

    Bless. Should the work health and safety commissioner concern itself with the financial governance of construction companies as well? The phrase “stay in your lane” is particularly relevant here. Conflating WHS issues with building quality is erroneous.

Kyle Norris Kyle Norris 6:15 pm 16 Aug 21

Michael Wilson Daniel Nixon Tom Hancock you lot get caught

Jarrod Sean Jarrod Sean 4:44 pm 16 Aug 21

Yet Bunnings is still open lol

    Steve Ross Steve Ross 7:34 pm 16 Aug 21

    Jarrod Sean for emergency supplies.

    Jarrod Sean Jarrod Sean 7:46 pm 16 Aug 21

    Steve Ross must be alot of emergencys lol. Bunnings is packed every day

    Bek Clark Bek Clark 8:42 am 17 Aug 21

    What rot. I grow my own food thus Bunnings has been essential for me. And you can park right at the door. That’s far from packed.

Brad Allen Brad Allen 4:22 pm 16 Aug 21

It is not just construction workers. Car and truck traffic on the GDE today was almost normal, including alot of NSW plates. Seems to fly in the face of “If you live in Belconnen, stay in Belconnen”…doesn’t appear to apply to Gungahlin.

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