Inspectors to visit building sites, educate workers
Workplace safety officers made a surprise visit to the Nishi building site on Wednesday, December 5 ... Industry inspectors will be out in force on Canberra's building sites on Tuesday. Photo: Karleen Minney
Inspectors from the federal workplace authority will be out in force on Canberra's building sites on Tuesday.
Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC) says its industry inspectors will visit sites as part of its ''proactive, educational service to the industry''.
Canberra's construction sector has been in the spotlight for several months, with an ACT government inquiry into safety in the industry finding a ''distressing safety record'' of four deaths and many injuries since December last year, and making 28 recommendations for change.
The report's first recommendation was for the ACT government to collaborate with Fair Work Australia to crack down on ''sham contracting'', the employment of workers on contractor's terms, on Canberra's building sites.
But the agency said site visits were routine and were not prompted by the report of the ACT work safety commissioner Mark McCabe and the former public service commissioner Lynelle Briggs.
The chief executive of FWBC Leigh Johns said on Monday the inspectors would be talking to workers about laws, wages and entitlements.
''We investigate and, if necessary, prosecute breaches of workplace laws, recover wages and entitlements for workers who have been underpaid, and provide education and advice,'' Mr Johns said.
''This week's site visits are really about our inspectors discussing with employers and workers about how to comply with workplace relations law and making sure their sites are fair and productive.
''We understand that not everyone has a lawyer or [human resources] manager on site to provide advice on complying with the law, so we proactively visit sites to help people understand the law and provide answers to any questions they may have.''