SafeWork NSW cracks down on sites, focus on eliminating dry cutting

SafeWork NSW cracks down on sites, focus on eliminating dry cutting

Construction sites across the Sutherland Shire have been told to expect visits from SafeWork Inspectors, with a focus on unsafe working systems across all trades and unsafe dry cutting processes.

Tony Williams, SafeWork NSW Executive Director, explained that it is part of a larger crackdown statewide.

“This week, inspectors will spend four days undertaking a compliance blitz on construction sites to make sure those most at risk from workplace injury are protected by safe systems of work,” Mr Williams said.

“Falls from heights are the number one killer on NSW construction sites with most people who are seriously injured or killed falling from a height of four metres or less.

“Far too often, inspectors identify concerns with the way scaffolding is set up and sub-standard protections for those working from heights, so this will be a focus of this blitz. We will also be targeting those working without a high-risk work licence and anybody caught dry cutting bricks, stone and concrete on site,” Mr Williams said.

SafeWork has the authority to issue on-the-spot fines $3,600 for corporations and $720 for individuals who breach the Work Health and Safety Act.

As of July 1 last year, unsafe dry-cutting stone practices was banned in NSW

“Dry-cutting is an offence, and for those who choose to ignore the law and put their employees at risk, SafeWork inspectors will issue tough new fines for noncompliance,” Minister for Better Regulation, Kevin Anderson said, when the announcement was made.

As per the SafeWork website: “Inspectors can issue prohibition notices to stop you from doing work that generates high levels of silica dust. If you don’t comply with a prohibition notice, PCBUs (employers) can face penalties up to $100,000.”

“You must use water, dust extraction systems on portable tools, or adopt other methods that eliminate or minimise the generation of silica dust.”

“If you are a fabricator or installer of manufactured stone materials, on-the-spot fines of $3,600 will also be issued for uncontrolled cutting, grinding, drilling and polishing.”

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