Construction sites in NSW are the targets of a safety crackdown on concreting practices in a three-month operation across the state.
Inspectors from SafeWork NSW will issue on-the-spot fines of up to $3600 for principal contractors and site supervisors for safety breaches and will be able to order work to stop on sites if risks are not being managed correctly.
Sites found to have poor quality construction builds will also be referred to the Office of the Building Commissioner and Fair Trading. The state government declared a zero-tolerance approach to lives being put at risk “from formwork and concrete placing equipment activities”.
The Minister for Fair Trading, Eleni Petinos, cited the example of two workers who suffered fractured ribs at a construction site in Westmead in May 2021 when an unsupported formwork platform collapsed, causing them to fall over three metres.
“When it comes to concrete placing equipment, the major risks are workers being hit by the hose or concrete, or the boom hitting a structure or powerlines,” the minister said.
Falls from heights is the leading cause of construction site fatalities in NSW, according to SafeWork NSW, with falls from formwork among the top five.
According to the NSW Government, to enable safe concrete pumping operation onsite, contractors and site supervisors must ensure:
- safe systems of work in place for set-up, placement, and concrete operations
- safe distance to overhead power lines
- adequately licensed, competent, trained and supervised workers
inspection, testing and maintenance of equipment as per the manufacturer’s requirements
- exclusion zones to prevent unauthorised access when operations are underway.