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Construction workers in the border towns of Echuca and Moama will be able to benefit from targeted OHS programmes being held this week.

To educate employers and employee on the unique implications and requirements of working at construction sites in border towns, WorkSafe Victoria and WorkCover NSW have teamed up and will be sending inspectors to selected sites up until November 15.

Businesses will be able to take advantage of the expertise of these inspectors to fully understand the work safety obligations required when working in a border town.

According to Allan Beacom, WorkSafe construction manager, one of the main goals of the scheme was to clear up any uncertainties regarding these obligations.

“We know many local construction businesses are based in one state but operate in another state,” he said in a November 11 media release.

“Our inspectors will help these businesses understand the safety requirements of each state and highlight the many similarities between NSW and Victorian laws.”

He pointed out that it was easy for border town workers to be confused about which laws applied where. For instance, Victoria and NSW have practically the same requirements surrounding high risk work licences and plant operator competencies.

As a result, these are interchangeable across the border and can be accepted in either state.

John Watson, general manager of WorkCover NSW’s work health and safety division, added that the project set out to make border construction sites safer.

He cited figures showing that in the three years to July 2011, there was a total of 1,209 injuries and illnesses in NSW’s construction industry.

“By the conclusion of this project we hope to address any construction industry misperceptions and have safer and more productive construction sites throughout the border region,” he said.

Such government initiatives, in tandem with construction safety training courses, can help any workplace in the industry become safer and more reliable.

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