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Safety compliance focus in Canberra

September 07, 2020

Operation Safe Prospect

WorkSafe ACT has commenced a targeted program of work health and safety education, compliance and enforcement activities in the residential building sector. The campaign has been named ‘Operation Safe Prospect’.

While it commenced with a series of visits to Denman Prospect, a number of other suburbs have since been targeted. During the period of 14 to 28 August 2020, WorkSafe ACT inspectors attended 76 residential building sites, issuing 88 improvement notices, 31 prohibition notices and one infringement notice.

Of the major risks identified across all sites, the most reoccurring and significant were:

  • Site security
  • Site signage
  • Risk from falls
  • Housekeeping - general working environment
  • Electrical

WorkSafe have advised that these risks will be prioritised over the coming months as part of its ongoing activity. The penalty for breaches by an individual is $438 and higher for a body corporate. WorkSafe will also close worksites that do not meet basic safety requirements and this has been seen in their recent activity. Builders should also be aware that in at least one instance a builder was required to cease operation on all sites after being found to be in breach at one particular site.

New Right of Entry Provisions Commencing

Last week the ACT Workplace Safety Minister Suzanne Orr revised the commencement date for recently passed amendments to the Employment and Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment Act 2020 regarding union entry to building sites. The original commencement date was 9 January 2021, however the changes are now in full effect as today, 7 September 2020.

The commencement of these provisions will allow an authorised union official to take photographs, video or audio recordings, or other recordings which are relevant to a suspected breach of the Act.

What can members do?

It is important that members take time to ensure all necessary safety measures are in place on building sites and that they are continually monitored to ensure they remain operational throughout the life of the build.

HIA has a range of tools available to members to help with your safety needs.

Contact HIA Safety Services for on-site support

Or contact HIA's Workplace Services and Building Services staff for legal and technical questions