Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) inspectors have started a safety compliance blitz of the state’s construction businesses that will continue for the rest of the year.
Inspectors are currently visiting sites to check safety requirements are being met across six high-risk areas:
- work at heights
- concrete pumping
- mobile plant (civil construction)
- mid-rise construction.
The blitz will also have a focus on young workers and apprentices, as data shows these are some of the most vulnerable workers at construction sites.
Across all industries, work-related incidents claim the lives of approximately 40 people every year in Queensland and there are more than 24,000 serious, often life-changing injuries.
Taking steps to manage risks is a condition of doing business in Queensland – everyone has the right to be safe at work and employers should be doing everything in their power to make that happen. If requirements are not being met, inspectors will take enforcement action.
Ensure your business is aware of its obligations and has systems in place to manage risks effectively at your workplace.
What training are you giving your formworkers?
Can you demonstrate (and show records) that you have provided 'meaningful and relevant training for workers delivered in a way they can understand'.
If not the read on ....
As we have written before, compliance with the safety training requirements outlined in the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act can be a challenging aspect for these skilled workers.
The recently released 'Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2023-2033' states that companies need to make sure that, on their projects, there is 'meaningful and relevant training for workers delivered in a way they can understand'.
It supports the continuation and strong focus on compliance and enforcement by regulators, with a particular focus on systematic work health and safety (WHS) management. If you don’t have meaningful and relevant training and cannot demonstrate robust WHS management, the risk is that the safety regulators will investigate the quality of your systems, including training and competency, to hold companies and individuals accountable.
WHS laws are risk based and don’t need an incident to occur for a business and its individuals to be liable. It is every employer’s responsibility to make sure their workers get the training, instruction and support they need to keep them safe at work.
The Formwork Industry Association (FIA) in conjunction with their members have developed a new education and skills pathway to overcome the challenges faced by Formworkers. Addressing the compliance issues the initial ‘Safe Formworker Program’ has been designed to provide the following features to ensure construction, civil and formwork companies can comply with their obligations.
- Tailored Training Programs
The Safe formworker program is a specialised WHS training program exclusively for formworkers that address their specific needs and challenges. The program covers essential safety protocols, techniques, and technologies relevant to their roles. By addressing the unique needs of formworkers, this specialised training is more relevant and effective in enhancing competency and safety.
- Government Subsidies and Support
To alleviate the financial burden, the FIA has secured funding from the NSW Government to provide 1000 free places for formworkers' training and access to the program and App.
- Flexible Training Delivery
Offering flexible training options, the program is delivered via a modern mobile learning experience. It enables formworkers to complete their training without significant disruptions to their work schedules, by providing bite-sized mobile courses that can be completed in the shed during toolbox talks. The program also enables employers to support a learning culture that allows workers to upskill during quieter periods.
- Multilingual Training Materials
The Safe Formworker Program has been translated into Arabic and has capability to be translated into other languages. This provides training materials in multiple languages to improve accessibility and understanding for non-native English-speaking formworkers. This approach will enhance the learning experience and overall training compliance.
- Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Creating formal Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) processes will allow experienced formworkers to demonstrate their skills and knowledge, gaining credit for their existing expertise toward training compliance. Our new education and skills pathway for formwork will enable these RPL programs to be successful and the App has certain features that allow workers to provide on the job video of their skills.
- Industry Endorsement
The Safe Formworker Program is endorsed by a growing number of construction companies that have specifically named the program as an essential compliance requirement in their tender process.
Complying with the training requirements identified in the WHS Act is essential for the safety and well-being of formworkers and those working alongside them. By implementing the Safe Formworker Program, we can bridge the training compliance gap, ensuring that formworkers receive the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their duties safely and efficiently. Collaboration between governments, industry stakeholders, and training providers will be key to fostering a safer and more compliant construction industry.