Bowens - The Builders Choice

Effective Supervision is Critical for Ensuring Safety

Welcome to 2023 Construction

We hope all readers, construction employers and workers have returned rested and ready for a big 2023.

“I think I’ve got this… but mate can you check it to make sure I’m doing it right?”

As the year commences we are seeing an influx of young workers into the construction industry with many school-leavers starting what we all hope will be long, productive and healthy careers.

Effective supervision is especially critical for ensuring the health and safety of these young or inexperienced workers during their first days, weeks and months on the job.

Builders and contractors should take time to review their supervisory arrangements to ensure, effective monitoring of site hazards and that workers are complying with their safe systems of work.

It’s well known that construction is a high risk industry – however inexperienced workers within industry may not understand many of the hazards and risks associated with it.  Simple things can be done to assist them. Whilst employers have an obligation to provide a safe workplace and information instruction and training, everyone should be making sure they are safe, by:

  1. Considering your young workers’ age and experience as a risk factor when identifying hazards and risks in your workplace.
  2. Make sure they have a construction induction card and are properly inducted onto site.
  3. Give them information, instruction and training to be able to do their work safely.
  4. Make sure they are properly supervised.
  5. Verify they know how to use hand tools such as nail guns, angle grinders, circular and reciprocating saws safely.
  6. Make sure they have the right PPE and know how to fit and use it properly.
  7. Ensure that safety controls are in place e.g. physical edge protection (guardrail/scaffolding) is in place.
  8. Encourage them to speak up and to ask questions. Listen to and act on their health and safety concerns.
  9. Remind them that bullying, occupational violence and aggression are not ok and who they should talk to if they experience it.
  10. Promote a culture of safety.

The characteristics of our industry means sites are constantly changing work environments, that can alter even by the hour as vertical or horizontal builds forge ahead with numerous specialist contractors coming and going. These dynamic environments mean workers can suddenly be exposed to new safety risks which were not previously present.

Some workers may not feel comfortable speaking up Employers, supervisors, work mates, trade school teachers, family members and friends can all affect the workplace experience for young workers. Everyone who is part of an apprentice, young or inexperienced worker’s life can help them transition into the workforce and stay safe, by checking in with them on how they are going, helping explain what the hazards and risks with their job are and speaking up for them.

Employers, supervisors and workmates can also influence how important safety is through what they say and do (or don’t say and don’t do) about safety on their sites.

So as we start this year, please help us keep them safe!

Construction remains a high risk industry!

We’ve seen through our Priority Harms project that there are still improvements to be made in our industry.

Keeping it real and not getting complacent

From the 772 Priority harms strategic visits done in the 6 months to December 2022,

  • 382 notices were issued with
  • 142 of these being for falls risks.

In the same period there were 4135 visits relating to incidents and injuries.
Tragically 1 of these visits was for the fatal injury to a young carpentry worker.

WorkSafe offers a range of safety-related advice, including about young workers, on its website and lists relevant employer and union websites you can go to for further information. More information can be found at or by phoning our Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

Subscribe to the Bowens Newsletter