OHS Essentials program to promote safety in construction

Thursday, 03 February, 2022

OHS Essentials program to promote safety in construction

Construction is one of Victoria’s most high-risk industries, but WorkSafe Victoria’s OHS Essentials program is available to help employers build safer workplaces. The program provides independent consultants who give free, confidential and tailored safety advice for small to medium businesses. WorkSafe estimates that on average, nine people every day were injured working in construction last year, with 33 lives lost in the industry since 2019, including 12 in 2021. David Woollands, who runs a small construction and commercial maintenance business in Melbourne’s north-east, said the program had been “invaluable” for improving his business and the safety of his workers.

“What we don’t want to see with our employees is ongoing repetitive injuries that are going to cause them issues. What’s great when you come out of a program like this is knowing that you’ve done everything you can to make sure your employees are safe,” Woollands said in a video with WorkSafe to promote the OHS Essentials program.

OHS Consultant Gloria Morosinotto said the program offered tailored advice to deal with the unique challenges presented by the construction industry, adding that the program is about helping to manage health and safety risk and to provide a great working environment for everyone. “We’re not inspectors, we’re all independent consultants that provide this service. It was about explaining that you need to make sure that the equipment you’re using is safe and suitable but on the same token, we don’t need to spend large amounts of money to make a huge difference in health and safety,” she said.

The construction industry accounted for approximately 14% of all accepted injury claims in Victoria in 2021, with the 3222 construction claims accepted by WorkSafe the third highest of any industry. The most common injuries were musculoskeletal (1004), wounds, lacerations and amputations (717) and tendon, muscle and ligament trauma (591). The leading causes of injury in 2021 were body stressing (1084), slips, trips and falls (1007) and being hit by a moving object (731).

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer urged all small to medium-sized businesses to consider signing up to the OHS Essentials program, adding that while construction may be a high-risk industry, every worker has the right to get home safe at the end of the day. “The OHS Essentials program is a great way for business owners to receive free, independent and personalised advice on how to control the health and safety risks at their workplace,” Dr Beer said.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/bannafarsai

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