WorkSafe inspections reveal good OHS practices in WA

Monday, 22 June, 2009

Western Australia WorkSafe inspectors conducted 69 inspections on construction sites in Geraldton and the surrounding areas in early June and found the standard of safety on building sites was generally good with only some areas of concern.

“The inspectors were quite impressed with the level of compliance with OHS laws on construction sites in the region,” Chris Kirwin, WorkSafe Director of Construction, Regional and Primary Industries, said. “Inspectors issued a total of 27 improvement notices, seven prohibition notices and some verbal directions in the course of the inspections; and two areas of concern emerged.

“The first was edge protection to prevent falls from height on building sites, one of WorkSafe’s operational priority areas. Falls are one of the most significant causes of workplace death in the construction industry, and five WA workers have died in less than two years as a result of falls. A further 1260 are injured each year, many seriously and permanently. Falls are readily preventable and it needn’t be difficult or costly to ensure that suitable barriers or fall arrest systems are organised before a tragedy can occur.

“The other area of concern was the testing and tagging of electrical equipment on construction sites. It’s crucial that portable electrical equipment on construction sites is tested regularly and tagged as being safe to operate — incidents involving electricity are often serious and sometimes fatal.”

During the campaign, inspectors checked that workers on construction sites had undergone the compulsory Construction Safety Awareness Training and held current and valid blue cards, and that Safe Work Method Statements were in place for high-risk construction work.

“The campaign followed a similar campaign in the Mid-West a year ago that resulted in positive feedback from WorkSafe inspectors, but also found areas of concern,” Kirwin added. “The inspectors who conducted this campaign reported that the safety standards of construction workers in the region had steadily improved over recent years.”

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