No children on worksites: WorkCover issues warning following death of boy, 8


Tuesday, 07 April, 2015

Image credit: © alexmak/Dollar Photo Club

The tragic death of an 8-year-old boy on a worksite last December has prompted WorkCover NSW to issue a timely warning to builders and construction companies these school holidays to ensure children are kept clear of construction sites.

According to Jodie Deakes, acting executive director of WorkCover’s Work Health and Safety Division, it has come to their notice that children were being brought onto construction sites during school holidays, and they have urged the industry to stop the practice.

“The construction industry is one of the state’s highest risk industries,” Deakes said.

“We understand that there is pressure to complete jobs, particularly when work falls behind, and sometimes it’s not possible to organise childminding.

“But construction sites are no place for children and companies must have systems and contingency plans in place to prevent this from occurring.”

WorkCover industry inspectors will be visiting worksites over the holidays to check children are not present and that construction companies have systems ensuring unattended sites are safe.

Deakes said building sites in and around residential areas pose a heightened risk, as there are typically more children in the vicinity, but there are a number of actions site controllers can take to make unattended sites more secure.

“Perimeter fencing is the first form of site control and must be installed, maintained and secured in a way that minimises unauthorised entry. The fencing should not have gaps and [should] be locked when the day’s work is complete,” she said.

“Ensuring power is off, blocking access to elevated floors, scaffolding and ladders, and storing plant and equipment, tools, chemicals and dangerous goods securely are other actions that can be taken.

“Site controllers should also empty water drums; cover pits, trenches and pier holes; and erect appropriate signage, including an after-hours contact number.”

For more information about construction site safety, securing and fencing, visit www.workcover.nsw.gov.au.

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