NSW regulators put construction and resources sectors on notice

Tuesday, 22 October, 2019 - 12:45
Industry news
National News

OHS regulators in NSW recently issued a warning to businesses in the construction and resources sectors that they will be targeting unsafe working practices.

SafeWork NSW said businesses and employees have been “put on notice” about their obligations to make workplaces safer, following a number fatalities and serious injuries.

Inspectors have been called to incidents in recent times involving workers from a range of sectors including manufacturing, construction, agriculture and transport, said NSW Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson.

“We want everyone to make it home to their family at the end of the day, which is why we are reminding everyone of their obligations and responsibilities, not just from employers to their employees, but employees’ obligations to each other.

“It is clear that more needs to be done to get the safety message through to people, which is why this month the NSW Government will be rolling out a number of new initiatives which aim to protect workers from serious injury or death.”

Inspectors have made the construction industry the focus of its next falls from height blitz, with businesses and workers across NSW being reminded of their obligations of staying safe while working at heights.

“Since April this year, SafeWork NSW has been targeting unsafe scaffolds, visiting more than 700 construction sites and issuing 832 notices, including $109,000 in on-the-spot fines or falls risks,” Minister Anderson said.

“While inspectors have seen some improvement in scaffold safety recently, the level of risk is still unacceptable with 44 per cent of scaffolds having missing parts, while on 36 per cent of sites it appeared unlicensed workers had altered or removed scaffolding components.

“That is why we need to strengthen laws and change attitudes to target risky behaviour, before someone gets hurt, or dies.”

The NSW Resources Regulator also launched a new state-wide mine safety campaign aimed at maintaining the safety record of mining across the state.

Resources Regulator Chief Inspector of Mines Garvin Burns said the new campaign is the result of an industry-wide roundtable held last year.

“While the NSW mining industry’s safety record exceeds other high-risk industries and is statistically one of the safest in the world, there is no room for complacency,” Burns said.

“Since we convened that roundtable there have tragically been two fatalities at NSW mines.

“While we do not believe there needs to be a ‘safety reset’ in NSW, like is happening in other jurisdictions, it is prudent to take proactive and renewed steps to keep safety front of mind in NSW mining operations.”

Through the Mine Safety Advisory Council and NSW’s strong approach, he said the regulator is working collaboratively with industry and unions to ensure that all mine workers go home safe at the end of their shift.”

The Resources Regulator is releasing a series of safety resources, including video animations, to be shown to mine workers by mine operators.

The first of these is a video, Be Safe at Work, developed in partnership with the NSW Minerals Council and the CFMMEU, which focuses on topics including supervision, safety planning, safe equipment and safe systems.