“Working from heights is a high-risk activity…”
Following several serious injuries on work sites throughout the NSW, and the prosecution of the Hunter-based Landmark Roofing which was fined $400,000 in the NSW District Court last week for a safety breach that led to the death of Brayden Asser. The 20-year-old fell six metres through a roof at Mayfield West in 2018 Following the above prosecution, the Newcastle building and construction work sites can expect unannounced visits from SafeWork NSW inspectors to undertakes high-visibility safety checks across the region. Inspectors are focusing on work from heights, electrical safety, falling objects, amenities, work plans and the prevention of respiratory diseases such as silicosis, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. Inspectors will also be checking that worksites have appropriate COVID-19 safe practices in place for all workers.
NSW Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson, said inspectors would be on the ground ensuring those undertaking high-risk work had the right safeguards in place.
“SafeWork will show zero tolerance for workers or the public being put at risk of serious or fatal injuries through unsafe practices, and heavy on-the-spot fines will be handed out to anyone doing the wrong thing,” Mr Anderson said.
On-the-spot fines of $3,600 for corporations and $720 for individuals can be issued to businesses who place workers lives at risk through inadequate fall from heights protection, or for those who undertake high risk work without appropriate licenses.
Housing Industry Association (HIA) Hunter Executive Director, Craig Jennion, said
“HIA has supported the sector with a suite of up-to-date COVID safe operational guidelines,” he said.
“All of HIA’s Making Space on Site Guidelines, site signs and the COVID-19 QR Code site induction are freely available to ensure business employees and subcontractors are working to remain COVID safe on-site and in the office.
“If you are a person conducting a business or undertaking work on a construction site, the work health and safety laws require you to manage the risks to health and safety associated with activity that is reasonably likely to cause injury.
“Having the skills and knowledge to work safely is a critical part of all business – both to obey the law and to keep those that operate in the sector safe.
SafeWork NSW took Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd, to court over the accident, claiming it was negligent by failing to ensure the use of a fall restraint system was in place. Mr. Anderson said the tragic incident underscores the need to protect young workers.
“Looking after the most vulnerable in the workplace should be at the heart of any company’s safety plans. It’s so important that young workers get specific training and appropriate supervision to do their job safely,” Mr. Anderson said.
Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd has the right to appeal the sentence.
Here are some tips to ensure safety:
- Conduct daily risk assessment. Record your findings and actions taken.
- Locate access routes in order to prevent unnecessary accidents
- Inspect height safety equipment after each shift for any defects.
- Implement the use of handrails for increased safety
- Keep the fall distance in mind and comply with the regulations.
- Choose the correct platform and add height safety measures I.e. rails
- Always opt for anchor points that support the weight of the worker.
It’s essential that you are familiar with the WHS regulations that are applicable to your particular work activity. In terms of high-risk activities compulsory awareness training is often required. View the SafeWork NSW website for more information.
We offer Online WHS Training?
The Online WHS Training Courses, comprises of 7 modules that are also delivered face-to-face. We also offer the Bullying and Harassment course.
The benefits are that they are online; set out in short videos that are easy to understand. They can be accessed anytime, anywhere and on demand. There is no travel required, which is time saved; they come at a low cost to the business, while you meet your due diligence and obligation under the WHS legislation.