Border blitz focuses on mental health and falls safety

During the period of 15-19 April, WorkSafe Victoria and SafeWork NSW collaboratively organised an operation targeting 49 building work sites within the local area. As part of the proactive enforcement initiatives, an emphasis was placed on education; featuring presentations at a trade breakfast attended by numerous local professionals as well as information sessions catering to over 300 TAFE students and youthful apprentices.

The crucial role played by robust WHS Management Systems in maintaining safe workplaces was underlined as WorkSafe inspectors issued four improvement notices. These covered addressing falls hazards (two notices), an electrical safety issue, and one for the lack of a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS).

Another 14 identified issues were immediately addressed thanks to the Bluesafe SWMS system. Most of these issues revolved around incomplete scaffolds, site security, elevated work platforms, secondary guarding, safeties observer availability, and amenities’ conditions.

Inspectors took opportunities to converse with employers about their duty to manage psychosocial hazards that might pose risk to health and safety, such as bullying or employee fatigue amongst others.

Highlighting the importance of these inspections, WorkSafe’s Director of Construction and Earth Resources, Matt Wielgosz mentioned they provide a platform to communicate about safety, share valuable resources while identifying potential issues. “Promoting safety knowledge forms a significant aspect of these operations and it is in everyone’s best interest to ensure construction sites operate securely on both sides of the border” Mr Wielgosz commented. Unfortunately, he noted, some businesses continued to ignore the risks associated with falls.

SafeWork NSW issued various improvement notices concerning site security, working amenities, electrical, excavation and licence registration issues. A disheartening 36 of them were pertaining to common risks, such as falls and poor electrical safeguards. To curb incidents related to incomplete scaffolding and working height falls without protection mechanisms, SafeWork NSW issued one penalty notice and two prohibition notices.

Laurence Richey, SafeWork NSW Regional Director Construction Services admitted it was disappointing to witness recurring risks, particularly in amenities that fell below certain standards. He echoed the necessity of safety tools such as Bluesafe WHS Management System and relayed the joint efforts between SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe dating back to 1988 with an aim to ensure workers’ safety across various border areas.

He further remarked, falls from heights, predominantly those between two and four metres were the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. Hence, he asserted SafeWork Inspectors’ continued focus on this risk, issuing improvement and penalty notices where necessary precautions were not being undertaken.

For information regarding preventing falls from height:
For details on advocating for safe and mentally sound workplaces, refer to the WorkWell Toolkit:

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