House being built imageHouse construction is a risky industry, more  than double the rate of injuries  for workers in other industries, unfortunately many resulting in permanent disability.

The most important problems needing to be fixed  are:

  • people falling through voids
  • unsafe movement of people and materials on-site
  • excessive  sun exposure, and
  • delays in recovery and return to work.

So in February 2014 WorkCover NSW launched the House Construction Industry Action Plan 2014–2015 (the action plan) as part of their Focus on Industry Program. This aims to:

  • reduce deaths, injuries  and illnesses
  • reduce exposure to hazards  which cause injury  and disease
  • eliminate/minimise high risk hazards  by implementing higher level controls, and
  • ensure that  injured workers are protected and have sustained recovery and return to work arrangements.

Under  the action plan, WorkCover NSW will:

  • offer targeted rebates
  • give businesses  information on health, safety and returning to work after a workplace incident,
  • through existing industry channels
  • build  awareness and capability by running industry events, field  days and accredited training courses, and
  • visit businesses  to give onsite guidance, case management assistance and follow up.

Free house construction safety demonstration days were  held in August and November 2014 with builders, construction workers, subbies, site managers and supervisors attending. These events offered free safety advice, product displays and giveaways with attendees eligible for a $500 rebate.

In September 2014 WorkCover NSW also introduced the House Construction Mentor Program. Here medium and large construction companies act as mentors to smaller  builders so they  can learn from others they  trust. The mentors were  from companies who  are keen to share their  knowledge and expertise with their  peers to help find  new ways to address  safety. Over the first year of its operation, ten mentors from across NSW have taken up this role.

For more  information on how  WorkCover NSW is tackling safety in house construction visit the WorkCover NSW website or view the House Construction Industry Action Plan 2014-2015.

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