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High-risk apprentices will now be safer following a renewed crackdown on construction projects by WorkSafe ACT
Commissioner Mark McCabe released two new sets of guidance requirements for apprentice supervision.
Under these new requirements, apprentices and trainees are prohibited from working without mandated supervision or without required accreditation
”We have seen several accidents in recent months involving apprentices working alone doing high-risk work,” Mr McCabe said.
”Supervisors should be aware that they are responsible for the safety of all of their workers, and especially apprentices and trainees, who require a higher level of supervision than experienced workers.”
Last February, Fairfax Media reported young electrical apprentices were illegally being told to work despite no proper supervision and completing jobs charged at the full commercial electrician’s rate.
A WorkSafe audit and compliance campaign was launched following two serious accidents in the ACT in which apprentices suffered from electric shocks while working without supervision.
Mr McCabe said ”I am releasing these new guidance notes as part of a campaign to ensure that all supervisors understand and adhere to this responsibility,” he said.
”Failure to do so could not only lead to severe penalties for supervisors, it could cost lives.”
The guidance notes for construction and electrical call for risk assessment and proper supervision as well as fines of $3 million for corporations and $600,000 and even up to five years imprisonment for individuals who breach the rules.
The notes state that licensed electricians must be present when an apprentice is carrying out licensed electrical work as a suitably qualified person must be present to oversee output by apprentices and trainees.
Mr McCabe said closer scrutiny of supervision of apprentices by WorkSafe inspectors in the ACT would begin in coming months.
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