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On September 20, just hours after a rally staged by construction workers in Canberra calling for safer working conditions on construction sites ended, another worker on a Canberra construction site was seriously injured and had to be rushed to Canberra hospital.

The worker, and electrical apprentice suffered head injuries after falling 5 meters. Coming so close after the rally protesting unsafe working conditions on construction sites, this accident may add pressure to the inquiry already underway into safety issues on job sites. In another incident in Sydney, a 55 year old worker fell to his death on a construction site.

These continuing accidents raise several questions concerning the construction industry. These questions include:

  • Is the safety training undertaken by the construction industry being followed by these companies or are safety practices being ignored in an effort to make larger profits?
  • Is the safety training now being offered to employers and their employees sufficient to ensure worker safety?
  • Are there sufficient inspections being carried out to catch breeches in safety before they result in a serious or fatal accident?
  • Are worker complaints about unsafe working conditions being taken seriously?

It is clear that these questions all need to be answered, and a solution needs to be found to help ensure that construction sites are made safer for the people who work on these sites. The government, the construction companies, and construction workers themselves all need to come together and to find ways to make the construction industry safer while still allowing the companies to make a profit.

While some dangers are inherent in the construction businesses the number of accidents in this field of work in the last several months indicates a serious problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. While fines and other penalties against companies failing to comply with safety guidelines are all well and good, these types of remedies won’t improve the quality of life for those workers seriously injured on the job, nor will it bring comfort to the families of those workers who are killed.

While investigations continue into improving safety on work sites, there are things that both employers and employees can do now to ensure that your work site is safe or at least safer.

  • Employers and managers need to do periodic inspections of job sites and check to ensure that proper safety procedures are in place and are being used.
  • All equipment used on the job site should be inspected and properly maintained. Any machinery that is not in proper working order needs to be fixed immediately and use of such machinery should be suspended until repairs are complete.
  • All workers should be trained properly in safety procedures and have adequate proof that they received such training.
  • Employees should report any safety hazards immediately, so they can be seen to and effectively reduced or eliminated.

By everyone in the construction industry taking these steps to help ensure that workers can do their job safely and effectively the rate of accidents are bound to decrease and many lives may be saved.

AlertForce specialises in online safety training. See our Construction Safety Courses here

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