18 December 2023
With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, SafeWork NSW is urging site managers and workers to not rush or cut corners when it comes to meeting end of year deadlines.
They are also being reminded to safely secure their sites heading into the Christmas break.
Coming into the end of year, there can be a tendency on worksites around the state for employees to rush through jobs in an attempt to meet end of year deadlines.
Two recent incidents demonstrate how important it is for workers to slow down and ensure workplace hazards are properly managed.
A 22-year-old concrete worker fell approximately two-metres into an unprotected excavation and landed on an unprotected reinforced steel bar which protruded his upper thigh and into his abdomen and hip. The worker required two operations that will require six months recovery and faces potential ongoing mobility issues with his leg.
54-year-old worker was painting on the first floor and fell from a ladder through an unprotected void to the ground floor. The man was taken to Royal North Shore hospital in a critical condition and later passed away.
SafeWork’s pocket-size guide to construction safety has useful information on common health and safety issues on construction sites, including working at heights, falling objects, moving plant, and electricity.
The Christmas and New Year break is the longest shut down in the construction industry, and unsecured sites can pose a great risk to the community during the school holidays, so it is important that worksites have adequate fencing and gates are locked.
Before closing for the year, site managers and workers should ensure:
Power is switched off to their site
Debris is cleared
Access is blocked to elevated floors, scaffolding, and ladders
Plant and equipment, tools, chemicals and dangerous goods are secured
Water drums are emptied
Appropriate signage is erected, including an after-hours contact number.
Cover voids, pits, trenches and pier holes
Cap all exposed reinforcement bars
SafeWork urges all site managers and workers to fill out SafeWork’s online and interactive site shutdown checklist, to make certain they are ready to leave their site unattended during the holidays.
For more information about construction site safety, security, and fencing, click here.
Quotes to be attributed to Head of SafeWork NSW Trent Curtin:
“Our tradies are widely considered the backbone of our state’s economy and SafeWork is committed to ensuring they make it home safely up until the end of the year.
“We want all our workers to make it to this break safely, so SafeWork is asking those working on construction sites across the state to continue upholding safe work practices despite the festive season approaching.
“This is a time of year a lot of people in the construction sector look forward to and we don’t want it being dampened due to a serious incident caused by a construction site not being properly secured and shut down.
“We are urging all workers and site managers across the state to lock their sites up, shut down all plant and machinery and ensure hazards are covered to their best of ability, to minimise the chance of injuries on site during the holidays.”
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