The construction industry is diverse and covers new building work, additions and alterations to existing buildings, road building, bridge constructions, parking lots and aerodromes as well as undertaking maintenance and repairs.
It also includes businesses that:
- demolish buildings
- clear building sites
- undertake blasting and test drilling
- engage in earthworks such as landfill, levelling, excavating, land drainage and other land preparation
- specialise in trades such as plumbing, electrical, carpentry, painting, plastering, tiling and landscape construction.
Top causes of injury
There are a vast range of activities and workplaces within this industry. Each workplace presents its own safety challenges. But, across the industry common causes of injuries are:
- falls from height
- lifting, carrying or putting down objects
- slips and trips.
The work is physically demanding, often performed outdoors, and frequently employs young workers. You need to know what the hazards are in your business so you can assess the risk they pose.
To help you get started, we’ve prepared information on how to identify hazards and manage the risks common to the construction industry including:
- hot and cold environments
- lifting heavy objects
- work near overhead power lines
- young and at risk workers
- alcohol and drugs.
Resources to help you
As the work health and safety regulator in NSW, we have a wide range of technical, business, management and support services to help you make our business safe.
Our 'resource' and 'hazard' libraries
We also have extensive information that will help you improve and review your risk management processes. This includes videos, checklists, training and supervisory information, and safety alerts.
SafeWork Australia also has a fact sheet on developing a hazardous chemicals register.
Our safety management resources
Our Safety starts here section has a range of essential resources including:
- business must haves like emergency plans and first aid
- the basics for physical safety at work
- the basics for mental health at work
Our business resources
Our safety support services
If you employ fewer than 50 workers, you can book request a workplace advisory visit by one of our SafeWork inspectors who will help you identify hazards and develop risk management procedures.
Our mentor program, where other businesses work with you to improve safety in your workplace, is also a valuable addition to your risk management program.
You can call us on 13 10 50 at any time for assistance in finding the services you need quickly.
Keeping up to date
Get into the habit of checking our website twice a week for updates on your legislative obligations, on current incidents and prosecutions, for new safety tips and general health and safety information.
Subscribe to the SafeWork Wrap, our monthly newsletter, which contains safety tips, general information, industry updates, and news about our prosecutions and enforceable undertakings.
Subscribe to industry publications and join your industry group. For developers, architects, builders and others you will find a complete list of industry-related organisations on the Fair Trading NSW website.
For workers, the NSW Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is the relevant industrial organisation.
The NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (WHS Regulation) define the obligations both employers and workers have to health and safety in the workplace.
The specific section of the WHS Regulation 2017 that addresses the construction industry is Chapter 6, Construction work.
You u can find a complete breakdown of business operations that fall within the construction industry from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).