House construction

Injuries to construction workers on smaller building projects have reduced in recent years. However, a number of serious issues continue to affect these workers.

The house construction industry action plan and summary plan outline the safety trends and high risk issues in more detail.

If you work in housing construction, keep your workers and others safe.

Hazardous and heavy lifting

Manual tasks and moving objects are the cause of many injuries on house construction sites. 

Overexertion in lifting is the most common and costly manual handling injury, while poor housekeeping and congested walkways are also commonplace on many house construction sites.

Solutions to help your business

The short video below of a house construction demonstration build shows how easy it is to prevent injury to your workers by planning ahead and using some simple solutions.

Falls through voids

Construction workers risk serious injury or even death when working at heights, and these risks are greatest when there are openings eg voids for staircases which workers can fall through.

You need to address voids in site management plans and inductions, and ensure constant supervision. Encourage the use of void covers with those most at risk.

This voids in house construction safety alert (below) highlights how easy it is to fall through openings on construction sites. An accessible version is also available.

The code  of practice for preventing falls in housing construction outlines your legal responsibilities, safe work methods for common tasks, and using portable ladders and working on roofs safely.

Solutions to help your business

The following short videos of a house construction demonstration build show how easy it is to prevent injury to your workers by planning ahead and using some simple solutions.

There is also a guide to erecting, altering and dismantling scaffolding.

Builders share their tips

In these short videos, builders share their tips on how to stay safe and prevent injuries on a construction site.

Housing industry site safety pack

We have developed the housing industry site safety pack to help small subcontractors (up to 10 workers) working in the residential construction sector.

If you're a small subcontractor, this pack can help you to meet your work health and safety responsibilities and assist you to ensure a safer site.

Authorities, clients and principal contractors may require evidence of your WHS system. If you use this pack as directed you will be able to provide the necessary documents.

You can download the housing industry safety pack. Or each form contained within the pack can be downloaded individually, below.

Injury recovery and return to work

There is good evidence that work promotes recovery and reduces the risk of long term disability and work loss.

Generally, the construction industry has found it difficult to allow its workers to recover from their injuries while undertaking suitable employment. We offer assistance with helping injured workers recover at work.

Builders with five or fewer workers and a premium of $30,000 or less may be eligible for the Return to Work Assist program for micro employers.

We also provide a number of vocational rehabilitation programs and a Return to Work Assist Program.

Mentoring program

Our mentor program is a free program that could help save your business time and money. The video shows how builders and workers can nominate themselves for the mentor program. An accessible version is also available.

Builders with up to 20 full time workers, who build up to 12 single or double storey houses a year, can nominate themselves – or any carpenters or plasterers they subcontract – to be a mentee in the program.

As a mentee, you may also be eligible for a $500 safety rebate and free publicity for your business.

The mentor program takes a systematic approach to addressing safety in your business, and also focuses on key risks and tailored solutions for your business.

Small businesses with up to 20 employees operating in NSW are encouraged to apply. Participation is free and is open to all industries.

Medium and large construction companies who are keen to share their knowledge and expertise with their peers are encouraged to nominate themselves as mentors.

Apply for the 2016/17 Mentor Program

For more information see our mentor program page, call 13 10 50 or email mentorprogram.business@safework.nsw.gov.au .

Planning and scheduling

Many issues on house construction sites can be addressed through good planning and scheduling. 

Watch this new video to see how smart planning can help you save time and money.

Sun exposure

Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world. According to the Cancer Council, more than 430,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers.

Risks from heat and UV exposure for outdoor workers can be reduced by: