With the NSW construction industry one of the most dangerous sectors in the state, a collaborative effort between inspectors from both sides of the Victorian border continues to reduce workplace accidents.
In the three years to 2011, there were more than 1,200 injuries and illnesses caused by neglected safety requirements, including three fatalities. This was at a cost of over $14 million to the NSW workers compensation system.
These statistics led both Victorian and NSW inspectors to visit construction yards in the Albury and Wodonga region this month as part of the Cross Border Project. The project is now a year old and has worked alongside more than 150 businesses to establish good working conditions and ensure safety is at the forefront of operations.
Len Neist, Victorian WorkCover Authority Executive Director of Health and Safety, said there very few legal differences between the two states, which meant it has been easy to convey requirements and areas for improvement.
“Some of the main focuses of the visits include ensuring employers understand the importance of developing Safe Work Method Statements that accurately reflect tasks, ensuring all electrical equipment is tested and tagged, and keeping worksites secure to prevent unauthorised access,” he said.
“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.”
Mr Neist said the inspections provided clarity to companies operating on the border about better site practices and planning process. He said the project is already credited with reducing injury claims across the Wodonga region.
Tony Williams, WorkCover NSW Work Health and Safety Division Acting Director of Operations, said providing businesses with advice and assistance is critical to ensuring workers return home safe each day.
“This project is addressing the misperceptions about the two state’s safety laws being significantly different and improving construction industry productivity throughout the border region,” he said.
Workplace compensation in NSW
Employees injured on job sites are entitled to workers 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.