Proactive inspections of pre-cast concrete panels to support safety

Released 17/05/2019

WorkSafe ACT inspectors will be undertaking proactive targeted checks of construction sites installing pre-cast panels following recent safety incidents and increased use of the panels on sites across the ACT.

Work Safety Commissioner Greg Jones said inspectors would be checking processes on sites about precast panel installation. This would include: safety design aspects and any modifications, installation, the removal of temporary supports and other potential safety risks.

“Pre-cast concrete panels, which have been created off-site and installed by crane, are an increasingly common building product across both residential and commercial development,” he said.

“The installation of the panels is a high risk construction activity and unfortunately across the country serious injuries to workers have occurred during the installation of the panels and also when temporary supports are removed.”

Mr Jones said in the ACT panels had fallen on sites and it was very fortunate that serious injury had not occurred. He had sent a safety alert to local industry this week reminding them of the risk and the importance of Safe Work Method Statements for such activity.

“The collapse of any concrete panel, even a small one, can have catastrophic consequences for workers or the public,” he said.

“The risk of panel collapse exists throughout the entire construction process, not only during the panel erection phase.

“The risk of collapse must be managed until the concrete panel is effectively part of the building’s permanent structure.

“Erecting precast concrete panels, using mobile plant around the panels and altering or removing temporary bracing is always high-risk construction work and I’ve reminded industry of this as well as advising that this activity will be a key focus over the next few months.”

- Statement ends -

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