ACT and NSW join forces to improve construction industry safety

Media Release | 09/12/2016

A new project to improve safety in the construction industry on either side of the NSW/ACT border was launched by WorkSafe ACT and SafeWork NSW today.

The project, announced at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra, will involve inspectors from both safety regulators visiting construction sites to explain the similarities between work health and safety laws, address perceived impediments to safety and ensure health and safety compliance.

Inspections will take place at residential and commercial construction sites with high risk construction work, in particular working from heights, a focus of the Program after 254 construction industry workers were injured in falls from heights in southern NSW over the last five years at a cost of $9 million to the NSW Workers Compensation System.

A similar program on the NSW/Victorian border between SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe Victoria resulted in improved relationships with industry, reduced red tape and increased safety awareness.

SafeWork NSW Group Director, Regional Operations and Sector Initiatives, Tony Williams said the project aimed to make it easier for the local construction industry to do business.

“Many construction companies are based in one state or territory, but undertake work in the other,” Mr Williams said.

“Regardless of which state or territory you work in, the risks and controls on construction sites are well known, as are the control measures that should be in place.

“Through this project we aim to help reduce perceived red tape issues while ensuring more productive, healthy and safe construction sites.”

WorkSafe ACT Commissioner Greg Jones said “The importance of this collaboration cannot be understated as it brings together expertise from across two governments, with the goal of continuously improving the safety standards of both commercial and residential construction sites.

“Bringing together employers, workers, unions and industry is critical to the success of this initiative and I applaud all participants in committing to improving safety across our region.

“With a number of recent workplace incidents occurring in Canberra, this is a timely reminder that safety remains the most important priority.

“I wish to emphasise to everyone to follow operating procedures carefully, make sure all workers are properly trained on safety requirements, and to fully supervise apprentices and other inexperienced workers.

“I implore all members of the construction industry to proactively play their part in keeping our sites and people safe,” said Commissioner Greg Jones.

More information on the cross border project and a copy of the Inspection Checklist can be found on the Access Canberra website and SafeWork NSW website.

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