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ACT: repeat offenders in residential construction on notice

7 Nov 2023 12:40 PM | Anonymous

There has been little change in safety behaviours and recurrent non-compliance by a number of residential construction businesses in the ACT, despite repeated enforcement notices and engagement with WorkSafe ACT inspectors, according to the regulator.

In the 2022-23 financial year, there were 20 businesses issued with between 17 and 83 enforcement notices. These included prohibition, infringement, and improvement notices for a variety of offences, including for high-risk activities like working at heights and scaffolding non-compliance.

Despite being issued with several enforcement notices on multiple occasions, the regulator said some businesses have been repeatedly non-compliant with work health and safety (WHS) laws.

In 2020, WorkSafe ACT developed a residential construction strategy, supported by the launch of operation safe prospect in late 2020.

Since then WorkSafe ACT has undertaken 2101 proactive workplace inspections and had extensive engagement with industry bodies, unions, builders, tradespeople, workers, and their representatives.

During the 2022-23 financial year, WorkSafe ACT visited 868 residential construction sites, issued 44 infringement notices, 1002 improvement notices and 430 prohibition notices.

“Continued non-compliance will not be tolerated. I will now be focusing on investigating and prosecuting identified repeat offenders that are continuously failing to keep their workers safe,” said ACT’s Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius.

The Commissioner said some responses to these letters have been concerning, showing a complete lack of understanding of the importance of WHS.

“It is clear to me that some builders in the ACT do not understand their WHS obligations. I want to remind businesses that it is their duty to ensure the health and safety of their workers.

“Having workers across multiple sites at the same time does not dilute your WHS duties.

“It is clear to me some PCBUs in the residential construction industry are on relying on WorkSafe ACT to ensure they have a safe system of work instead of fulfilling their obligations to create a safe workplace for workers.”

The CEO of Master Builders ACT, Michael Hopkins, also said it is important that every employer and worker on a residential building site make safety their number one priority. “People who show repeated and blatant disregard for safety laws have no place in our industry and only make it harder for the many reputable companies who exemplify workplace safety,” he said.

[Original article provided by AIHS]


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