Inspectors to visit construction sites in river towns

Construction sites along the Murray River from Cobram and Barooga to Corowa are being urged to review their existing site health and safety practices ahead of site inspections later this month.
News article published

Tuesday 18 Aug 2015

Industries and topics
  • Construction
  • Health and safety representatives

Inspectors from WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW will be in the area as part of an ongoing Cross Border construction campaign to assist the border construction industry in understanding that construction safety requirements are consistent on both sides of the border.

Inspectors will visit sites in Moira and Corowa shires to talk with builders, sub-contractors and workers about basic construction safety practices that are required no matter which side of the Murray River they happen to be working on.

While onsite, inspectors will ensure builders and sub-contractors are complying with health and safety requirements, including managing risks associated with high risk construction work, safe work method statements (SWMSs) and preventing falls down stair voids.

Inspectors will also want to see builders effectively managing site safety including having public protection in place and ensuring housekeeping practices are adequate.

WorkCover NSW Assistant Director, Regional and Response Operations, Laurence Richey said, most health and safety issues on construction sites can be avoided by proper planning and carrying out an early assessment of risks.

“Effective consultation with workers around safety and harm prevention strategies as part of this approach is also critical, and this applies regardless of which side of the border you are working on,” Mr Richey said.

According to WorkSafe Regional Operations Manager, Brooke Grey, construction is a high-risk industry and builders and sub-contractors needed to work together to ensure everybody goes home safe at the end of the day.

“Taking shortcuts with safety on construction sites is not an option,” Ms Grey said.

“All too often after a serious injury, inspectors hear ‘but it was only a 5-minute job’. Short cuts can end in tragedy with a cost far more valuable than time or money.”

Ms Grey said there were three key elements to reducing risks when working at heights:

Plan the work, including high risk construction work where a safe work method statement (SWMS) must be developed to document the risk controls such as guard railing or scaffolding;

Implement the plans and required risk controls; and

Supervise the work to ensure the plans are being followed and controls are effectively managing the risks.

WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW will visit Corowa, Rutherglen, Mulwala, Yarrawonga, Cobram and Barooga from 24-28 August. The project is supported by key construction industry stakeholders from both states.

For further information on the project, visit or