Young worker falls targeted in construction safety blitz

Friday, 22 March, 2019

Young worker falls targeted in construction safety blitz

A construction site safety blitz is taking place on the border of NSW and Victoria, targeting falls among young workers.

The latest Cross Border Construction Program blitz is about to get underway in the Albury–Wodonga region, aiming to keep workers safe and reduce potentially deadly falls.

WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW inspectors will visit construction sites on both sides of the border from 25–29 March, in order to help keep them injury-free.

Construction is one of the most dangerous industries for young workers in Victoria.

Two workers aged 15–24 were killed on Victorian building sites last year; meanwhile, 3766 construction workers across all age groups were injured.

Falls remain a leading cause of serious injury and death for construction workers of all ages, with five workers dying as a result of falls on construction sites in the past two years.

The Cross Border program operates at three locations on the Victoria–NSW border each year and helps construction employers learn more about the similarities and differences between work health and safety regulations in each state.

WorkSafe Victoria Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said the program was an opportunity for construction employers in the region to take stock of the safety measures they have in place to protect their workers.

"Young workers are particularly vulnerable on construction sites because of their lack of skills and experience," she said.

"Construction employers have a duty to keep all workers safe and the Cross Border program is a great way to remind those operating in the Albury–Wodonga region to make safety a priority always.

"Our inspectors will be happy to provide information about safety risks but they also won't hesitate to issue notices where they identify safety issues."

SafeWork NSW Executive Director Tony Williams said SafeWork inspectors had visited 52 construction sites in the Riverina and Murray region, issuing 29 notices as part of a blitz on construction industry sites in 2018.

"Falls from heights incidents in NSW had more than tripled in the last five years and that is not good enough," Williams said.

"SafeWork NSW will continue to prosecute businesses who are not doing enough to protect workers. In December, a business in Punchbowl was fined $90,000 after two of its workers were seriously injured when a scaffold collapsed while they were painting a building.

"Everyone in the industry knows the devastating effects a fall can have on a worker. And the reality is, these incidents can be prevented when proper safeguards are in place."

Image credit: ©

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