Prioritise worker safety over deadlines this festive season

Released 20/12/2017

WorkSafe ACT is sending a strong message to employers in the lead up to the Christmas break: prioritise your workers’ safety and wellbeing over meeting a deadline.

Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said it is common for employers – and also workers – to feel the pressure to get jobs and projects completed near the end of the year. However, this must not come at the expense of safety.

“My clear message to all workers and employers is that no deadline is worth an injury to a worker. Safety must remain the highest priority on all sites and work places at all times,” he said.

“When we rush to get work done, unfortunately safety is one of the first things to be compromised. This is not acceptable and WorkSafe ACT will continue to be active in the lead up to Christmas, checking safety arrangements and taking action as appropriate.”

Another important consideration at this time of the year is managing the effects of heat on workers – particularly for those working outside or in hot environments such the hospitality industry.

“With the temperature continuing to sit in the high thirties, again heat safety needs to be high on the agenda,” he said.

“Workers need to look out for their safety and remain hydrated and employers should move high energy work – to cooler parts of the day.

“I encourage all workers and employers to watch this video which was produced by the local industry to support heat safety. Featuring local tradies it provides practical tips and important advice:

Finally all workers and employers have a responsibility to ensure worksites that are shut down over the break are safe and secure.

“This is critical to ensure sites are not subject to unauthorised entry over the period, that any water run-off from sites is mitigated and the community knows who to contact if they have questions or concerns around a site,” he said.

“This week I encourage all sites to start putting their shutdown plans in place, and this could include the development of a checklist to ensure nothing is missed.

“Some key tips in getting sites ready include:

  • Ensure worksites are fenced and locked to prevent unauthorised access is key
  • Remove ladders or equipment which could be used to gain access to scaffolding
  • Shut off power to the site, or if power is needed for security, isolate all but essential power outlets
  • Remove flammable or hazardous materials
  • Lock up tools and machinery and remove them from the site if possible
  • Empty skips, septic tanks and clean up the site
  • Ensure emergency contact information is clearly displayed at the front of the site so the community can make contact if they have a question or concern
  • Ensure any water run off from sites is mitigated.

“Together we can ensure workers remain safe in the lead up to the Christmas break and sites remain safe and secure during the break,” he concluded.

A video on holiday worksite safety is available here:

If members of the community have safety concerns around a worksite over the Christmas period they can contact the head contractor directly (number will be listed on the perimeter fencing of a site) or WorkSafe ACT on 13 22 81.

- Statement ends -

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