Compliance audit findings for high-risk construction work

Wednesday, 21 October, 2020

Compliance audit findings for high-risk construction work

SafeWork SA has released its 2020 report following compliance audits focusing on Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS). The compliance campaign was conducted from February to July 2020, following a recommendation from the SafeWork SA Elevating Work Platforms 2019 Audit Report, coinciding with acceptance of an enforceable undertaking associated with a worker falling more than three metres. The report identified the construction industry as a priority in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022.

SWMS for high-risk construction work are a key strategy relied upon to reduce the risks inherent to the construction industry. Martyn Campbell, Executive Director of SafeWork SA, noted that the identification and control of risks in the construction industry is a priority focus area, and said every company, worker and stakeholder can play a role to eliminate or reduce these risks.

“The release of this report coincides with the recent signing of an enforceable undertaking where a PCBU has committed to spending $93,500 after a worker received serious injuries while undertaking a high-risk construction work activity,” Campbell said.

SafeWork SA conducted 66 compliance audits across the construction industry, including 29 construction projects where a principal contractor was in management and control of the workplace. Auditors issued 64 statutory notices in response to non-compliances, including 47 Improvement Notices and 17 Prohibition Notices.

The largest areas of non-compliance related to a failure to prepare an SWMS before commencing high-risk construction work and not having adequate control measures in place to manage a risk of a person falling more than three metres.

“The report and the EU is a timely reminder to businesses and workers to identify high-risk construction work activities before work starts and to ensure adequate controls are in place to eliminate or minimise, so far as is reasonably practical, the risks to people’s health and safety,” Campbell said.

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