Dozens of safety issues identified in latest border blitz
WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW have visited 22 building sites in Yarrawonga and Mulwala as part of a joint-agency operation to boost construction safety.
Published:19 September 2023
The border town blitz from 21-25 August focused on risks associated with working at height and exposure to crystalline silica dust, but inspectors also kept an eye out for general workplace safety issues.
Site inspections are a key element of the Cross Border Construction Program, which aims to help local construction businesses along the Victoria-NSW border comply with workplace health and safety requirements.
WorkSafe inspectors issued 17 improvement notices during seven workplace visits and observed another two safety issues that were remedied on the spot.
Electrical risks were the most common concern with five improvement notices issued, followed by a lack of security fencing (3). Notices were also issued for working at height without fall control measures in place, incomplete scaffolds, poor housekeeping, performing high risk construction work not in accordance with a Safe Work Method Statement, and failing to have a Crystalline Silica Hazard Control Statement for tasks that exposed workers to crystalline silica dust.
Director of Construction and Earth Resources Matt Wielgosz said WorkSafe was committed to making safety the top priority at all construction sites.
"It's never a good idea to wait for an injury or death before you start thinking about safety. Through proactive visits like this, we can prevent tragedies that were otherwise waiting to happen."
"As the results show, there is much room for improvement. Together with SafeWork, we'll continue to help employers understand and meet their health and safety obligations."
SafeWork NSW Executive Director Matt Press said with falls from heights being the number one killer in the construction industry, inspectors were taking a zero-tolerance approach to unsafe practices and issued one penalty notice.
"Of the 15 sites visited, SafeWork issued 38 improvement notices in relation to poor site security and non-compliant testing and tagging of electrical equipment, failure to have a Safe Work Method Statement in place, and issued six prohibition notices, including three for working at heights, two for the removal of machine guards, and one for unsafe use of an elevated work platform."
"SafeWork Inspectors also had some very positive interactions with local tradies and discussed safer ways of working, especially around high-risk hazards associated with the movement of vehicles, and safety around moving plant."