Joint VIC/NSW safety blitz targets border construction businesses

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, 20 March, 2022 - 12:45
Policy & legislation
New South Wales

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW recently announced a joint inspection program to reduce the risk of falls at local construction businesses in Albury and Wodonga over a four-day operation from 22-25 March.

Employers in the construction industry must do more to prevent workers from being injured or killed as a result of falls from height, said WorkSafe Victoria executive director health and safety Narelle Beer.

“The risk of falls from heights in the construction industry is very real and can have heartbreaking and life-changing consequences,” Beer said.

“Since the start of 2018 there have been 13 fatalities in Victoria’s construction industry as a result of falls from height,” she said. “Every one of these tragic deaths was preventable.”

Across Victoria, construction workers are injured in falls more than those in any other industry. Last year WorkSafe accepted 402 claims from construction workers injured in a fall from height, almost a third of the 1323 claims in that category.

These include falls from ladders (43.1 per cent), traffic and ground surfaces (12.7 per cent), steps and stairs (9.2 per cent), buildings (8.5 per cent) and scaffolding (7.5 per cent).

SafeWork NSW director construction services regional Laurence Richey said residential construction in the Albury and Wodonga region is booming resulting in a large increase in the construction of new residential houses.

“During the upcoming blitz, SafeWork Inspectors will be focussing on all construction hazards, particularly in the areas of site fencing, amenities, housekeeping, electrical and work at heights.

“We encourage all builders to maintain a continual focus on these key issues and contact SafeWork NSW on 131 050 if they need any assistance,” he said.

The operation is part of the ongoing cross border construction program, which aims to raise the profile of workplace health and safety issues in regional centres along the Victoria-NSW border.

Employers should review and implement WorkSafe’s safety checklist to protect workers from the risk of falls on site.