Christmas Message from Ian Forsyth, Executive Director, Health and Safety, WorkSafe Victoria
As the year draws to a close it’s an opportune time to reflect on how the construction industry travelled in 2010 from WorkSafe’s perspective.
There’s no doubt construction activity bounced back after the global financial crisis with employment levels rising sharply, particularly in the second half of the year and activity is predicted to grow by around 5 per cent per annum over coming years.
Whilst this is great news for the industry and for employment, it also reinforces the need for all of us to remain focused on striving to achieve improved health and safety outcomes and ensure every construction worker comes home safely at the end of every day.
By the end of 2010 WorkSafe will have inspected more than 5700 construction workplaces of a variety of sizes, complexities and OHS performance.
Unfortunately the construction industry continues to feature prominently in terms of workplace injuries – in 2010 whilst the rate of injuries declined, more than 12 construction workers were still injured badly enough every day to lodge a claim.
Tragically in 2010 there were also five lives lost across the Construction and Quarrying sectors – three involving falls from work platforms; an electrocution from a switchboard; and one involving an excavator.
Clearly despite general improvements over recent years, we all have much more work to do to ensure that the basic drivers of construction related injuries are addressed. Frustratingly for everyone involved in the industry, frequently it’s the same types of avoidable hazards and incidents that are behind many injuries and fatalities – factors such as poor housekeeping, haphazard planning, ineffective supervision and using the wrong tools continue to feature prominently.
The lead up to the festive season is one of the most dangerous times of the year as we all struggle to complete projects and tasks before the end of the year – we’d urge you to take extra care during this time and if in doubt check out our guidance material on the website at worksafe.vic.gov.au/construction
On behalf of everyone at WorkSafe I wish you and your families a safe and enjoyable festive season and look forward to working with you in 2011 as we strive for injury free construction sites across Victoria.