The 3 most common residential construction WHS breaches

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 29 May, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation
Australian Capital Territory

Inadequate site security management, provision of suitable worker amenities and management of falls from heights are the most common WHS breaches witnessed in the ACT’s residential construction industry.

WorkSafe ACT recently issued a warning about WHS safety in the residential construction industry, which has been a focus for the regulator since the launch of its operation safe prospect in 2020.

This residential construction strategy was driven by two unexpected fatalities in the industry within months of each other, in January and February 2020.

Over this time WorkSafe ACT has completed 1363 workplace visits and issued 1655 improvement notices, 385 prohibition notices and 92 infringement notices.

The same WHS breaches are being observed in residential construction time and time again, according to ACT Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius.

“We continue to observe unsafe work practices and significant breaches of the work health and safety laws,” said Agius.

“Those responsible are not adequately managing site security or providing suitable worker amenities, and they are not adequately managing falls from heights. This is frustrating, disappointing and dangerous.”

In the lead up to the launch of the regulator’s residential construction strategy this June, Commissioner Agius is reaching out to the ACT community to help curb the safety breaches in the sector, and she urged all homeowners to never enter a building site without the escort of a builder, and when onsite to remain vigilant.