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WorkSafe Victoria releases two handbooks on construction industry

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WorkSafe Victoria  has released two handbooks outlining the requirements of new regulations which formalise existing safe working practices in Victoria’s construction industry.

It is the first time there have been specific regulations covering all parts of the construction industry.

In the past, regulations have focussed on hazards such as working at height, asbestos, and powered plant.

The new regulations take effect on 1 July and are not expected to adversely affect those already complying with Victoria’s workplace health and safety laws.

The publications working safely in the general construction industry and working safely in the housing construction industry are available by calling WorkSafe Victoria’s advisory service.

They are also available online at WorkSafe Victoria’s website. The regulations have been developed to help reduce the high rate of deaths and injuries in all sectors of the construction industry, the director of WorkSafe Victoria’s Construction and Utilities Division, Chris Webb said.

“Construction deaths account for about one-third of all Victorian workplace deaths. There have been 29 fatalities since the start of 2005 and around 2,800 injuries* are reported to WorkSafe each year.

“The new regulations will help employers and sub-contractors ensure their workers remain safe so they retain quality of life.

“They will help the industry remains an attractive employment option because it will be a safer industry to work in.

“Construction industry hazards are well known and obvious; so are the solutions. The industry needs to ensure that whatever can reasonably be done to protect the workforce is in place.

“Failing to properly plan work can have serious consequences. The templates in the handbooks will help builders and tradesmen do what they need to so that safety is maximised by identifying potential issues before they are a problem.

“Implementing these strategies will help ensure everyone goes home at the end of the day,” Webb said.

Main features of the regulations:

  • Employees are to be given occupational health and safety Induction training before undertaking construction work
  • Inductions on site-specific risks and safety measures will be required before starting work on a construction site
  • Principal contractors are to prepare health and safety coordination plans for construction projects with a construction value in excess of $250,000. Templates for doing this are in the handbook
  • Employers are to document safe work method statements for defined types of high risk construction work. A template is in the handbook

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