construction site
60 constructions site were paid a visit by SafeWork. Image – Canva
  • During mid-February SafeWork warned inspectors would make visits to sites
  • 96 notices were issued from over 60 construction sites
  • SafeWork NSW director added that over 12,000 workers were injured from falls between 2014 and 2017

After warning during mid-February that regulators would be out and about in the North Coast region, a safety blitz by SafeWork NSW has resulted in 96 notices being issued over 60 construction sites.

The sites in question were from Tweed Heads, near the Queensland border, to Ballina which is south of Byron Bay and over 740km north of Sydney.

Of the 96 notices, eight were on-the-spot fines, 16 prohibitions and the remaining 72 were improvement notices

Laurence Richey, SafeWork NSW Director of Regional Construction, said that he was disappointed to walk onto sites that have serious falls risks along with missing scaffolding parts, sometimes altered by unlicensed workers. The highest fine was $3,600 for falls risks.

He warned more visits will occur.

“Builders can expect further ongoing visits as we continue to check compliance, take enforcement action, and apply sanctions where any risks are observed,” said Mr Richey.

Mr Richey added that falls from heights are the biggest killer on building sites in NSW, adding over 12,000 workers were injured after a fall between 2014 and 2017. These falls resulted in 25 fatalities and more than 240 being permanently disabled.

“Ongoing construction blitzes by SafeWork will be occurring right across both metropolitan and regional NSW in 2021, with findings like these a wake-up call for the construction industry is needed to immediately lift their standards,” Mr Richey said.

He concluded that SafeWork inspectors have the power to refer poor quality construction work or practices to the NSW Building Commision for investigation.

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