Blitz highlights safety issues along Vic, NSW border
WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW visited 59 construction sites in Albury and Wodonga from 28–30 March as part of a joint operation to boost workplace safety. The safety visits aimed to educate duty holders on the risks associated with working at height and exposure to crystalline silica dust, which can lead to debilitating or deadly respiratory diseases if inhaled. The operation was part of the ongoing Cross Border Construction Program, which highlights workplace health and safety issues in regional centres along the Victoria–NSW border.
WorkSafe Victoria inspectors issued eight improvement notices during their 23 visits and observed another eight safety issues that were remedied on the spot. Electrical risks were the most common concern, with four improvement notices issued, followed by fall risks (two). One improvement notice was issued for inadequate site security due to missing fence panels and another for inadequate structural support for timber steps.
WorkSafe Victoria Director of Construction and Earth Resources Matt Wielgosz said the joint visits were an effective way to improve safety at border construction sites and that WorkSafe inspectors will continue to help the construction industry along the border understand and meet its health and safety responsibilities. “Face-to-face conversations and inspections help employers to check that their safety knowledge is up-to-date and that they have appropriate systems in place to keep their workers safe and healthy,” Wielgosz said.
SafeWork NSW Regional Construction Director Laurence Richey said SafeWork inspectors visited 46 sites, issuing 53 improvement notices, six prohibition notices, and one fine. “It is concerning to see the large number of sites that do not get the message around the need to work safely at heights, and have unsafe electrical practices and inadequate site security. SafeWork NSW inspectors will be continuing a zero-tolerance approach in respect of these issues across the border region,” Richey said.
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