Three fatalities and an increasingly serious injury rate in the construction sector led the ACT Government to review safety in the industry. The findings and outcomes of that review were published in ‘Getting Home Safely - Inquiry into Compliance with Work, Health and Safety Requirements in the ACT Construction Industry’, which was tabled and agreed by the ACT Government in February 2013.
One of the recommendations in the Report was that ‘The ACT Government should endorse the targets and priority action areas identified in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012–2022, and work with relevant sectors, including the construction industry, to achieve the strategy’s goals.’
The Government embraced this recommendation and has sought ways to build and improve the safety culture and performance of the ACT construction industry.
One strategy was to enhance the Government’s safety management practices for the construction projects it commissions. To do this it commissioned a working party including experts in safety, Government procurement and construction, and commissioning agencies.
The working group met throughout 2013 and 2014 to agree on some rules which would apply to Government construction projects.
The working group determined that these rules must:
- be easy to use and comprehensive, and
- influence and enhance the safety performance and regulatory compliance of those construction projects.
In August 2014, the ACT Public Service Strategic Board endorsed the ACT Public Service Guidelines for Managing Work Health and Safety in Construction Projects with a Value of $250 000 or more (the Guidelines).
The Guidelines form part of a set of tools developed by the ACT Government to manage work health and safety in construction works commissioned by the Territory. The other strategies are:
- complementary guidelines for work with a value less than $250 000 (under development)
- the implementation of a Safety Management System for Territory works where the Territory is the Principal Contractor
- the WHS Active Certification Policy, and
- weighted assessment criteria for work health and safety in construction procurement.
The rollout and implementation of the Guidelines commenced in September 2014 with workshops being run across all Government agencies in the ACT.
A review is to be conducted commencing in March 2015 to determine the effectiveness and usability of the Guidelines and make any improvements needed.
Enquiries can be directed to the Office of Industrial Relations, Workforce Capability and Governance Division by phone on 02 6207 5922 or email to the Office of Industrial Relations