Cross-border safety blitz as silica dust risks in the spotlight

Cross-border safety blitz as silica dust risks in the spotlight

A combined safety blitz by WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW covered 59 construction sites in a cross-border operation between the two regulators, aiming to improve workplace safety.

The focus of the safety blitz was ensuring duty holders understood their obligations as they apply to crystalline silica dust risks in the workplace, which has garnered plenty of media attention in recent weeks as unions seek to ban silica-containing products.

The operation was part of the ongoing Cross Border Construction Program, which aims to highlight workplace health and safety issues in regional centres along the Victoria-NSW border.

Following the conclusion of the safety blitz, WorkSafe Victoria inspectors issued eight improvement notices over 23 visits, and were able to assist with remedying a further eight safety issues on the spot.

WorkSafe Director of Construction and Earth Resources Matt Wielgosz said the joint visits effectively improved safety at border construction sites.

“Face-to-face conversations and inspections help employers to check that their safety knowledge is up-to-date and that they have appropriate systems in place to keep their workers safe and healthy.

“Together with SafeWork, WorkSafe inspectors will continue to help the construction industry along the border understand and meet their health and safety responsibilities.”

SafeWork NSW completed inspections of 36 sites, and issued a significantly higher number of improvement notices (53), as well as six prohibition notices and a single fine.

“SafeWork NSW inspectors will be continuing a zero-tolerance approach in respect of these issues across the border region,” said SafeWork NSW Regional Construction Director Laurence Richey.

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