Construction safety crackdown in NSW after landmark fine

Wednesday, 12 August, 2020

Construction safety crackdown in NSW after landmark fine

As part of high-visibility safety checks across the Hunter region, SafeWork NSW inspectors have visited building and construction sites in Newcastle, following a number of serious on-site injuries. Inspectors were on the ground, ensuring those undertaking high-risk work had the right safeguards in place. Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the crackdown on high-risk harms on construction sites would focus on work from heights, electrical safety, falling objects, amenities, work plans and the prevention of respiratory diseases such as silicosis, asbestosis and mesothelioma. Inspectors also checked that worksites had appropriate COVID-19 safe practices in place for all workers.

“SafeWork will show zero tolerance for workers or the public being put at risk of serious or fatal injuries through unsafe practices, and heavy on-the-spot fines will be handed out to anyone doing the wrong thing,” Anderson said.

Inspectors can issue on-the-spot fines of $3600 for corporations and $720 for individuals, for placing workers’ lives at risk through inadequate fall from heights protection or for undertaking high-risk work without appropriate licences.

Landmark Roofing was recently fined $400,000 for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, after a 20-year-old worker died as a result of injuries sustained following a six-metre fall through a skylight. Landmark Roofing has the right to appeal the sentence. Anderson said the incident underscored the need to protect young workers.

“Looking after the most vulnerable in the workplace should be at the heart of any company’s safety plans. It’s so important that young workers get specific training and appropriate supervision to do their job safely,” Anderson said.

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