Regulators encourage COVID safety on construction sites

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.
Monday, 20 July, 2020 - 10:45
Policy & legislation
New South Wales

Businesses in NSW’s construction industry have been encouraged to take a stronger and more proactive approach in order to minimise risks associated with COVID-19.
The NSW Government recently launched a new suite of guidance materials to help all types of businesses manage the risk of COVID-19.
Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said these new materials have been specifically created for non-customer facing businesses, to ensure everyone has access to industry-specific, practical guidance to prevent the spread of the virus.

“80,000 businesses have already downloaded the NSW Government’s COVID Safety Plans, and we’ve now created additional resources for construction sites, farms, hotels, offices, and manufacturing premises,” Minister Anderson said.

The construction plan can be tailored to variables such as how many people are needed to assist with deliveries, numbers of passengers and where points of contact occur.

Common misconceptions in construction and trades are that only one person can travel in a personnel lift or construction hoist or you can’t share tools on the worksite.

“That’s simply not true so long as you minimise close contact and adopt strict hygiene protocols,” Minister Anderson said.

For example:

  • Most lifts, depending on the size, can safely carry two to four people standing at a distance. Check for signs about lift and hoist capacity and stand apart from workmates while waiting.
  • Tools can be shared but they should be wiped down with disinfectant wipes in between use, with handwashing and hand sanitising in place before and after use.

“Ultimately we want to focus on getting NSW’s economy back up and running and providing businesses with the right guidance to operate safely and successfully in the current climate,” Minister Anderson said.

“I encourage every business to jump online and download these simple yet powerful tools to map out a safe way back to business that puts customers and workers front and centre.”