Employers and workers are being urged to slow down and put safety first as Victoria enters a traditionally dangerous time of year for workplaces.
Below are some of the safety measures employers can put in place to maintain safety over the holiday season:
- scheduling more team discussions to raise awareness of additional pressures at this time of the year and the importance of maintaining safe work practices
- making sure work schedules are appropriately paced and achievable
- making sure new employees receive proper training and induction
- communicating and reminding your workers of internal resources and assistance programs available to them if needed
- informal chats to help keep safety top of mind.
Worker fatigue can develop throughout the festive season, particularly when working long hours and days with high temperatures.
“Worker fatigue can develop throughout the festive season, particularly when working long hours and days with high temperatures.”
Fatigue can impact judgment, resulting in workers making mistakes or not identifying risks.
Statistically, November and December are high-risk months on construction sites, so it’s more important than ever not to take shortcuts.
Preparing construction sites for shutdown over the holiday period
Builders, site supervisors, and contractors should review and implement control measures to make sure their sites are safe when closed over the upcoming holiday period.
“Builders, site supervisors, and contractors should review and implement control measures to make sure their sites are safe when closed over the upcoming holiday period.”
It’s important to start planning early. Unattended construction sites can expose people to significant hazards and risks, including:
- Running into, falling over, or being stuck by collapsed fencing
- Being stuck by wind-borne objects
- Falling from partially built structures or scaffolding
- Falling through unprotected voids and into open excavations
- Being crushed by the collapse of incomplete or unstable structures
- Electric shock from live power
- Lacerations from sharp objects.
A thorough site clean-up will help keep the public safe over the holidays.
These works should check that existing site safety measures are up to date and that appropriate site security is in place.
Site security fencing and gates should be inspected, and defects rectified before the holidays. Additional bracing may be required to ensure the fence can withstand wind loads, especially fences with attached signs or where shade cloth is fitted.
Partially built structures such as walls and roofs need to be adequately supported and braced where required, to prevent collapse or to handle wild weather. Voids in floors should be securely covered, or the area barricaded to prevent access to the public. Excavation, where possible, should be backfilled.
Site equipment and machinery should be removed or secured to minimise any risk of access by unauthorised people.
Chemicals and potentially harmful substances should also be removed from the site.
The main switch to the construction electrical wiring should be switched off, and the main switchboard locked. Uninstalled roofing and other loose construction materials have the potential to turn into missiles if not stored and secured correctly.
Read more about safety construction practices and fatigue management.
Call WorkSafe Advisory on 1800 136 089 between 7:30 am and 6:30 pm Monday to Friday.