Construction Work Safety Legislation

Construction Work Safety Legislation

According to Safe Work Australia’s tally of ‘Work-Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities Report’, a dozen workers were recorded to have been fatally injured in 2020 as of April 9. An average of 19 deaths per year are recorded in the construction sector with falls, being electrocuted, struck-by-an-object, and being caught in between machinery being the top four leading causes of fatalities. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recorded that one in every ten construction site workers gets injured every year.

Is there something that is overlooked for this to occur? Are there enough safety measures in place for workers at a construction site? How are they protected from these industrial accidents? While they are more than willing to risk this much just to earn a monthly wage, are they supposed to be insured? There are many questions surrounding workplace health and safety when it comes to the construction industry. 

Work Health and Safety (WHS)’s Responsibility

Also known as Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S), the Work Health and Safety, or WHS, manages the risks that everyone in the workplace faces that may affect them directly or indirectly. Its scope extends to those who work with you and those who you work for, such as your customers, suppliers, and visitors.

In general, what WHS’s purpose includes is to ensure that every business holds up the legal requirements of keeping workers safe and healthy. Elements of ensuring this include the following.

Providing a safe working environment

A workplace should be free from any physical, emotional, and chemical threat. This includes the provision of safe machinery and structures to be used during operational hours on top of insurance policies that should cover whatever accidents may occur. Also, making PPEs, emergency aids, and industrial supplies available (ex. Ladder, stools, safety nets) is essential for this first requirement.

Provision of safe ways of working

Ensuring a culture of being on time, being mindful of co-workers, and following the guidelines accordingly are examples of safe ways of working. Any defiance to this may lead to unwanted accidents, tension, and destruction of the order of things. 

Provision of knowledge, special training, specific instructions, or assisted supervision needed for safety

This may cost money and time at first but implementing these safe practices and adequately teaching workers how to use the safety equipment is a critical asset and is contributory to your business’s success later on. For example, if a company deals with dangerous chemicals or goods, dangerous goods training is a necessity

Provision and maintenance of adequate facilities

If you need a machine that will help worker efficiency and productivity to be at its best, do that. Don’t put them at risk of cutting their fingers in making them do carvings manually. Don’t make them do something that will require them more hours to finish. Machinery doesn’t merely need to be working, it must be maintained at tip-top shape. If its motor needs to be changed of oil, do it promptly. If the elevator needs safety certification every 3 years, by all means, keep up with it. If there’s new machinery that requires additional training, make sure it has the right operators.

Monitoring the worker’s overall health

Having a balance between life and work is of utmost importance. Connecting with workers now and then through team building, coffee talks, or one-on-one casual sessions makes them feel important. This is the time to reassess their plans on being in the company, what other ways they think they can contribute, and how else their performance can be enhanced.

Taking the responsibility of acting on these laws is expected from every business registered in Australia. Choosing not to take action may end up resulting in prosecution, unwanted fines, and maybe even loss of life. That could put your business and jeopardy, so prioritise safety as much as you do profit. In case any accidents do occur, staff should be equipped with first aid training skills and knowledge to help an injured worker. 

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