We’re getting close to Christmas, which means a well-earned break from work. However, while taking some time off to spend with family and friends is a cause for celebration, having an accident on a closed work site is not. A holiday catastrophe could result from accidents or property damage caused by poor shutdown safety procedures.
A number of potential risks, such as excavations that haven’t been cordoned off and reo bars that haven’t been capped off, can compromise the safety of a closed work site. Piles of equipment or construction material not only have sharp edges, but can pose a crush hazard.
Make sure you have all the necessary site safety equipment on hand at this time, so your employees can find it when they are preparing their sites for closure over the festive period.
Under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017, a person with management or control of a workplace has an obligation to secure the workplace. This is outlined in “Part 6.3 Duties of Person Conducting Business or Undertaking, clause 298 Security of Workplace”. Penalties apply for non-compliance (see below).
Persons who have management or control of a construction workplace are also obliged under the Safe Work Australia “Construction Work Code of Practice” August 2019.
- A person with management or control of a workplace at which construction work is carried out must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the workplace is secured from unauthorised access. Maximum penalty:
(a) in the case of an individual – $3,600, or
(b) in the case of a body corporate – $18,000.
- In complying with subclause (1), the person must have regard to all relevant matters, including:
(a) risks to health and safety arising from unauthorised access to the workplace, and
(b) the likelihood of unauthorised access occurring. Example – the proximity of the workplace to places frequented by children, including schools, parks and shopping precincts.
(c) to the extent that unauthorised access to the workplace cannot be prevented – how to isolate hazards within the workplace.
As a proactive precaution for members, Master Builders has developed a shutdown period checklist that can be used prior to leaving the workplace and again upon returning to the workplace to identify any anomalies that may have taken place during the break.
Items covered in the following checklist include, but not limited to:
- Perimeter Fencing
- Gas / Electricity / Water
- Mobile Plant
- Tower Cranes