4th August, 2014

New initiatives to reduce injuries in construction

Workers compensation insurance is in the spotlight, with a new initiative from state governments aiming to decrease the costs which come from injuries in the construction industry.

Tradies are some of the most at-risk professionals in Australia, with many harmed, or even killed, as a result of working on site. In New South Wales alone, there have been 1,209 injuries from the construction industry, according to the NSW WorkCover Authority.

These injuries went on to cost $14.5 million in workers compensation payments for New South Wales.

However, a new initiative is hoping to ease the burden of these costs, particularly among builders who are working across state lines.

The Cross Border Project is an initiative by NSW and Victoria to increase awareness of different health and safety legislation among tradies working in these areas. The hope is that by increasing awareness, there will be fewer accidents on site and fewer worker compensation claims as a result.

Victorian WorkCover Authority Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, identified how this project would increase the awareness of hazards on site.

"The aim is to help reduce any confusion about working across the border while ensuring construction sites make safety their number one priority," said Mr Neist.

"Inspectors are also reminding employers and workers to pay particular attention to site house-keeping. Untidy sites can lead to trips and falls and increase the risk of workers suffering sprained ankles or manual handling-related injuries."

The project has been ongoing for a year, with inspectors already visiting 150 businesses to raise awareness of different health and safety legislation and to clarify the obligations of employers.

"No matter which state you are working in, it's important to have a systematic approach to worksite safety. The key is a proper plan, implementing that plan and then monitoring work to ensure it is being done safely," said Mr Neist.

Author: Murray Bruce