White Card update: Domestic Construction Sites – Safety Inspections.
White Card update: Domestic Construction Sites – SafetyInspections.White Card compliance alert:Safety Inspections in VictoriaOften when we think of construction sites that we require a White Card for, we naturallyvisualise big high rise constructions, road works, bridges, supermarkets etc. But throughoutAustralia there are thousands of smaller construction sites which would be categorised as“domestic”.Domestic construction sites can range from building small lots of apartments or townhouses,spec house developments, right down to major renovations of existing homes.All of these construction sites require a White Card in order to enter the site, according toAustralian legislation.Recently, Worksafe in Victoria performed some inspections on these types of smallerconstruction sites.SafetyCulture.com.au reported:Last weekend, WorkSafe carried out random inspections of residential construction sites inMelbourne’s east.The inspections were part of a campaign to target basic safety issues at domestic housing sites.Five inspectors conducted 15 visits and issued 21 improvement notices and four voluntarycompliances to workplaces across the City of Casey and Cardinia Shire.:Source:http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/vic-safety-blitz-on-domestic-construction-sitesIt’s interesting to note that these inspections were performed on the weekend by Worksafe Vic.It’s important to remember that Owner Builder renovations are equally considered constructionsites!SafetyCulture.com.au goes on to say:Some of the improvement notices issued with regard to: internal housekeeping, safe access to toilets, and switchboards 1/4
external housekeeping debris in public areas site security to prevent public access electrical testing and tagging safe work method statements no construction induction (CI) cards.Notice that one of the specific issues picked up by the inspectors was the lack of “constructioninduction (CI) cards”… in other words White Cards. Because the White Card requires that youlearn the basic principles of construction site safety, Worksafe takes the absence of this cardvery seriously, as we see in the concluding paragraphs of the abovementioned article:“‘What we find is employers and tradespeople consistently fail to properly address the basicsafety issues like fall protection, electrical safety, housekeeping, site security and supervision.‘Each notice represents a breach of the OHS legislation. Employers who breach the legislationare increasing the risk of injury to workers. These employers are potentially liable to prosecutioneven in circumstances that do not lead directly to someone being hurt.’” (Quoting WorkSafe’sacting Director of Construction and Utilities, Allan Beacom)Source:http://www.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/04/vic-safety-blitz-on-domestic-construction-sitesThe best place to start to avoid such breaches is to get a White Card, which can be done onlinethrough our course White Card Online.But how do we know what is defined as construction work?Let’s turn to the Workplace Health and Safety Queenland site to help us: “The building and construction industry is diverse with many high risk activities. Contractors, subcontractors and their workers face risks from hazards that must be managed to prevent deaths, injuries and illness. Construction work Construction work is work to a structure or part of a structure including its: erection, construction, extension or structural alteration alteration, conversion, fitting-out, renovation, repair, refurbishment, commissioning disassembling or decommissioning. Construction work also includes: 2/4
any work connected with site preparation any excavation or landscaping work done in connection with construction work assembling or installing prefabricated components for use in construction work taking apart a structure or part of a structure into its prefabricated components demolition work or asbestos removal work (prescribed activities).” Source: http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/business/construction/whatis/index.htmAnd further, our understanding is assisted by these definitions from the same website of What isa Structure?: “What is a structure? A structure includes all types of buildings, walls, or other steel or reinforced concrete construction. Structures can also be: masts, towers, pylons, structural cables or telecommunications structures infrastructure or other public-use facilities including:production, storage or distribution facilities for heavy industries, for example refineries underground works such as shafts, tunnels, pipes, pipelines, sea defence works, river works, earthworks or other earth retaining construction roads, highways, footpaths, driveways, railway lines or sidings, tramway lines airfields docks, harbours water storage or supply systems, sewerage or drainage systems electricity or gas generation, transmission or distribution facilities, gasholders parks or recreation grounds fixed plant, for example boilers, air conditioning units ships or submarines scaffolds, formwork, falsework, or other construction designed or used to provide support, access or containment during construction work.”DEIR QLD offers this pdf as a resource to determine what a construction site is:http://www.deir.qld.gov.au/workplace/resources/pdfs/newlaws_definition_factsheet2006.pdfPosted by Peter Cutforth 3/4
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