High winds cause injury risk to workers and general public

Date: Jun 26, 2014

Construction sites can be dangerous at any time, but during periods of high winds there is an added risk to both workers and the general public.

This week's high winds in NSW sparked a reminder to controllers of construction sites to make sure all loose structures are secure. This type of weather is not uncommon during winter, so highlights the need to keep building material safe at all times.

Peter Dunphy, Acting General Manager of WorkCover's Work Health and Safety Division, explained structures like scaffolding, temporary roofs and fencing can all cause serious damage should they lift during poor conditions.

"Builders, contractors and site controllers need to ensure that any risk of structural collapse is minimised by ensuring that walls are adequately braced and other lose materials secured," he said.

"During high winds and storms everyone needs to be vigilant and check for lose materials including light weight scaffolding planks and rods cannot low off upper levels."

There are also legal requirements which state cranes and other large machinery should be operated within the manufacturers guidelines to avoid injury to workers as well as to the general public.

Mr Dunphy explained that collapses on construction sites are deadly, and operators should be actively monitoring situations to avoid any undue risk to workers or anyone else near the worksite.

This could include having policies and strategies in place to determine what equipment is used during weather events, and educating workers on best practice when storing dangerous machinery or materials.

WorkCover NSW offers guides and advice for site controllers looking to ensure masonry wall safety on the worksite in the event of poor weather.

Public liability claims in NSW

If you suffer an injury in a public place, and you believe that the owner or a third party was responsible, you may be eligible to make a public liability injury claim.

To support your claim, you must have evidence that the situation was dangerous and that the employees or the owner neglected their duty of care responsibility.

Workplace compensation in NSW

Employees injured at work are also entitled to compensation. It is recommended that you contact a compensation lawyer who can advise you on how make your claim and assist you through the process.

These lawyers operate on a no win no fee basis, so they can advise you on your chances for success free of charge – if they think you have a case, it's completely up to you whether you engage their services.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.