Construction sites across the Newcastle and Hunter region have been put on notice as SafeWork NSW inspectors begin a high-visibility campaign targeting workplace safety.
Kevin Anderson, the Minister for Better Regulation, has explained that there have been a number of serious, notifiable incidents across the region and inspectors would be out in force to ensure that all high-risk worksites were taking the appropriate precautions to protect the health and safety of workers.
“Today we’re kicking off a crackdown on high-risk harms on construction sites across the Newcastle region,” Mr. Anderson said.
The target of the inspectors includes sites that conduct working at heights, as well as issues including electrical safety, amenities, work plans and the appropriate protections for workers who are exposed to fine dust that can cause silicosis, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.
Mr. Anderson has also explained that COVID-19 safe work practises would be in focus for inspectors.
“SafeWork will show zero tolerance for workers or the public being put at risk of serious or fatal injuries through unsafe practices, and heavy on-the-spot fines will be handed out to anyone doing the wrong thing,” Mr. Anderson said.
Workplaces with inadequate fall from heights protection or those who complete unsafe work without appropriate licenses can face on-the-spot fines of $3,600 for corporations and $720 for individuals.
Recently, Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd, based in Newcastle, was handed a $400,000 fine for a WHS breach, following the death of a 20-year-old worker who died after falling six metres through a skylight.
“Looking after the most vulnerable in the workplace should be at the heart of any company’s safety plans. It’s so important that young workers get specific training and appropriate supervision to do their job safely,” Mr. Anderson said.
Landmark Roofing Pty Ltd can appeal the sentence.