ACT News

WorkSafe blitz within concrete industry reveals 'cavalier approach to safety'

A recent safety blitz by WorkSafe on a subset of the concrete industry has revealed a "cavalier approach to safety" in the industry, Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe said.

The blitz on truck-mounted concrete placing booms checked 19 trucks and found only two were fully compliant with safety regulations.

Five trucks were taken off the road with prohibition notices due to significant safety compliance breaches, another was taken off the road voluntarily by the company owner, and 11 improvement notices were also issued.

"It is concerning that the blitz has recorded such a high incidence of non-compliance. Some of the operators in this sector have a cavalier approach to safety," Mr McCabe said.

"For some at least, keeping trucks in service clearly takes priority over safety considerations. There are also indications that every effort is made by some to keep costs to a minimum in order to undercut competitors who are trying to comply by their obligations."

Mr McCabe said WorkSafe inspectors caught one truck involved in a concrete pour several days after they had issued a formal prohibition notice, a "very serious offence which may be referred to the DPP for prosecution".

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He said the decision to take a truck off the road is not taken lightly.

"It is a measure of the seriousness of the non-compliance and risk to workers."

Prohibition notices were issued when a six-yearly major strip-down service had not been completed, or it could not be adequately demonstrated that one had been performed.

Improvement notices were issued for various instances of non-compliance including where emergency stops for the plant did not meet Australian standards.

One truck issued with a prohibition notice had not had a maintenance check, and its emergency stop button was inoperable.

"WorkSafe ACT Inspectors will continue to take a zero tolerance approach to non-compliance in the industry around six-yearly major strip-down services and we will not hesitate to take action on breaches of legislation," Mr McCabe said.

"The results are disappointing and demonstrate how far much of the construction industry still has to go in terms of improving its approach to health and safety."

Mr McCabe is calling for the industry to "get educated, not regulated" by taking advantage of industry information sessions and WorkSafe's new training program for construction companies on developing their own Safe Work Method Statements.

"For those who continue to disregard their obligations … we will still not hesitate to use our regulatory powers. As a community, we simply can't afford to continue to accept the ACT construction industry's position of having the worst safety record in the country."

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