A construction safety project that aims to improve safety and reduce red tape on Border construction sites has been hailed a success by NSW’s and Victoria’s safety regulators.

The Cross Border Construction Program commenced in June 2013 and involved inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW visiting construction sites on both sides of the Border to explain the similarities between the states’ work health and safety laws, address perceived impediments to working across the Border and ensuring health and safety.

Since the commencement of the program, inspectors have visited 419 Border construction sites and hosted three trade breakfasts at Dahlsens Building Centres to 350 workers.

Inspectors issued 182 improvement notices, 15 prohibition notices and one penalty notice during the visits. The most common safety breaches were for a lack of fall protection when working at heights, electrical safety, risk of structural collapse, mobile plant and site security.

Regulators also identified three areas where safety documentation could be improved in relation to safe work method statements, safety coordination plans and high risk work licences.

A review of the Program found that relationships with industry had improved, red tape had been reduced through a consistent approach by both regulators and safety awareness had improved.

Following the review, WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW have agreed to extend the Program a further three years and will focus on young worker safety and aim to involve other government departments such as NSW Fair Trading and the Victorian Building Authority.

SafeWork NSW Director, Regional and Response Operations, Tony Williams thanked the Border construction industry for embracing the Program and committing to improved safety.

“The Cross Border Program has been recognised as a best practice case study in how to work with industries that operate across borders,” Mr Williams said.

“I’d like to thank the Border construction industry for supporting the Program which has resulted in more construction workers returning home safely at the end of the working day and proven that regardless of which side of the river you are working on, the approach to safety is the same.”

WorkSafe Victoria Construction Program Manager, Dermot Moody, said he was pleased the Program had been embraced by builders on the both sides of the border.

"Ultimately this campaign has helped prevent injuries on construction sites,” Mr Moody said. "Safety must be the number one priority at every work site and we look forward to continuing to talk with the construction sector about their OHS responsibilities."

The next phase of the Cross Border Program will commence on Monday, 29 August 2016, in the Mulwala/Yarrawong, Cobram/Barooga regions. For further information on the project, visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or www.safework.nsw.gov.au

Media contacts: WorkSafe Victoria: (03) 9641 1216 or 0478 881 663, SafeWork NSW: (02) 4321 5474 or 0413 186 799

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