Free expert advice to build safer construction industry

Construction is one of the state's most high-risk industries, but help is at hand for employers to build safer workplaces.

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Published: 31 January 2022

On average, nine people every day were injured working in construction last year and sadly, 33 lives have been lost in the industry since 2019, including 12 last year alone.

WorkSafe's OHS Essentials program is available to help make construction workplaces safer. It provides independent consultants who give free, confidential and tailored safety advice for small to medium businesses.

David Woollands, who runs a small construction and commercial maintenance business in Melbourne's north-east, said the program had been invaluable to improving his business and the safety of his workers.

"What we don't want to see with our employees is ongoing repetitive injuries that are going to cause them issues," Mr Woollands said in a video with WorkSafe to promote the OHS Essentials program.

"What's great when you come out of a program like this is knowing that you've done everything you can to make sure your employees are safe."

OHS Consultant Gloria Morosinotto said the program offered tailored advice to deal with the unique challenges the construction industry presented.

"The OHS Essentials Program is really about helping them to not only manage health and safety risk, but helping them to provide a great working environment for everyone. We're not inspectors, we're all independent consultants that provide this service," Ms Morosinotto said.

"It was about explaining that you need to make sure that the equipment you're using is safe and suitable but on the same token, we don't need to spend large amounts of money to make a huge difference in health and safety."

The construction industry accounted for about 14 per cent of all accepted injury claims in Victoria in 2021, with the 3222 construction claims accepted by WorkSafe, the third highest of any industry.

The most common injuries were musculoskeletal (1004), wounds, lacerations and amputations (717) and tendon, muscle and ligament trauma (591).

The leading causes of injury last year were body stressing (1084), slips, trips and falls (1007) and being hit by a moving object (731).

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer urged all small to medium-sized businesses to consider signing up to the OHS Essentials program.

"Construction may be a high-risk industry, but every worker has the right to get home safe at the end of the day," Dr Beer said.

"The OHS Essentials program is a great way for business owners to receive free, independent and personalised advice on how to control the health and safety risks at their workplace."

To find out more about the OHS Essentials program and to watch David's story.

OHS Essentials program facts:

  • In the 2020-21 financial year, 1120 businesses signed up to the OHS Essentials program.
  • Of those businesses, 347 were in the construction sector.
  • OHS Essentials Consultants can confidentially assist businesses to identify hazards and injury risks; provide guidance on creating and maintaining a safe workplace; and work with construction businesses to develop practical safety action plans.