Second scaffold safety blitz following substandard scaffold safety

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.
Wednesday, 7 October, 2020 - 11:00
Policy & legislation
New South Wales

Construction sites across NSW will be subject to a new scaffolding safety blitz after a recent round of inspections saw more than 800 notices issued for significant safety breaches.

NSW Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson has called upon the industry to improve its standards or risk heavy fines after SafeWork’s inspectors found missing scaffold parts, unlicensed workers, and substandard safety measures for those working from heights.

“This is no joke – this year alone three people have died and 25 have been seriously injured due to falling from a height,” Minister Anderson said.

“Over the first three-month blitz SafeWork inspectors issued 26 penalty notices, 232 prohibition notices and 580 improvement notices, 500 of which were for risks associated with falling from heights.

“We will not tolerate poor safety and workers lives being placed at risk on our worksites … The sites we’ve identified can expect another visit very soon.”

Minister Anderson said the notices were only the first step in the process, and under the recently amended Work Health and Safety Act 2011, non-compliant businesses could face heavy fines or up to five years jail-time.

“NSW is proud to be leading the way with the strongest work health and safety legislation in the country, and we will not hesitate to prosecute anyone who disregards the safety of others,” Minister Anderson said.

“Everyone should feel safe doing their job. If you spot anything risky, play your part in protecting your own safety as well as that of your workmates by immediately reporting it to SafeWork via the Speak Up app.”