ACT construction sites are the most dangerous in Australia, with the highest rate of serious injury claims, according to a new report from Safe Work Australia.
The report, which has been seized by Unions ACT, revealed there were 29 serious injury claims per 1000 workers in the territory during 2012-13, compared with just 12.9 in Victoria.
The number of serious claims has fallen since 2008-09 when Safe Work Australia recorded 30 serious claims per 1000 ACT workers, although the rate has increased since 2010-11 when 24 claims were lodged.
Unions ACT secretary Alex White said the report demonstrated the safety of construction workers was still an important issue for Canberra.
"It's partly to do with the scale of the market in Canberra, as you do have a lot of small contractors operating here," he said.
"Some of these smaller contractors simply don't treat safety the same way larger national or global contractors with a better safety record do."
Nationally, the report found the rate of injuries and fatalities had fallen during the past decade, although the industry still remained a "high risk".
"Around 12,600 workers' compensation claims are accepted from the construction industry each year for injuries and diseases involving one or more weeks off work," the report said. "In the construction industry, this equates to 35 serious claims each day."
In 2012, an ACT government inquiry found the territory's rate of serious injury on construction sites was nearly double the national average, with one in every 40 workers expected to sustain a serious injury each year.
Mr White said the government had accepted all 28 recommendations of the Getting Home Safely report into the ACT construction industry – which was launched after the 2012 report – but more needed to be done.
"We would like to see the Work Safety Commissioner prosecute more often," he said. "There has already been couple of prosecutions and that's a positive step but there should be more," he said.
"We also think that all members of work safety committees should receive compulsory work safety training. We know that when there is more worker involvement in safety then you get a safer construction site."
The Safe Work Australia report found younger workers on construction sites were more likely to injure their hands and feet, while older workers were more likely to injure their backs and shoulders.
"The back was the most common location of injury for workers in both the 35-54 years and 55 years and over age groups – it accounted for more serious claims than any other part of the body," the report said.
Carpenters and joiners accounted for 13 per cent of serious injury claims between 2008 and 2013, followed by plumbers at 8 per cent and electricians at 7 per cent.
Nationally, the most common cause of death on construction sites between 2002 and 2014 were falls from a height, with 117 fatalities recorded.
Building and plumbing labourers recorded the most fatalities, with 18 deaths, while 16 bricklayers, carpenters and joiners were killed on the job.
ACT Construction, Forestry, Mining and Electrical Union state secretary Dean Hall said the ACT government's intervention into the construction industry to ensure contractors complied with safety requirements was a positive step.
"Yes, the ACT is improving slightly, but we are still on the bottom of the table and we can't seem to get off it," he said.
In March, the ACT CFMEU recommended mandatory drug and alcohol testing on work sites several times a year without notice to improve safety.
Mr White also used the release of the Safe Work Australia report to express frustration with the Master Builders Association and said it was "running a partisan political strategy through the media about swearing on construction sites".