Construction work is particularly dangerous.
As a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you have a duty to keep workers and your workplace safe from construction work
Risk control measures
The work health and safety (WHS) Regulations require you to control risks in a certain order (known as the hierarchy of control measures):
first, eliminate risks by eliminating hazards; this is the most effective control measure
then substitute a hazardous task with something safer,
then isolate hazards from people
or use engineering controls to minimise any risks that have not been eliminated
then use administrative controls to minimise any remaining risks, and
then use personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise any risks that remain. Note: a combination of the above control measures can be used to minimise risks.
If these control measures change how your workers do their work, you must:
consult your workers and create safe work procedures
if workers are represented by a health and safety representative (HSR), the consultation must involve that representative
provide training, instructions, information and supervision on the changes
This includes fire, explosion, medical emergency, rescues, incidents with hazardous chemicals, bomb threats, armed confrontations and natural disasters.
The emergency plan must include:
an effective response to an emergency
notifying emergency services
medical treatment and help
testing emergency procedures
information, training and instruction to relevant workers about doing the emergency procedures
Safe work method statements (SWMS)
A PCBU that carries out high risk construction has additional WHS duties. These include requirements to prepare, keep, comply with and review a SWMS for the work. The PCBU must provide give the SWMS to the principal contractor.
A SWMS is a document that sets out:
high risk construction work activities
hazards that could happen from these activities
how the PCBU will control the risks
The Safe work method statement for high risk construction work information sheet provides information on preparing a SWMS.
High risk construction work
High risk construction work:
involves a risk of a person falling more than 2 m
is carried out on a telecommunication tower
involves demolition of an element of a structure that is load-bearing
involves demolition of an element of a structure that is related to the physical integrity of the structure
involves, or is likely to involve, disturbing asbestos
involves structural alteration or repair that requires temporary support to prevent collapse
is carried out in or near a confined space
is carried out in or near a shaft or trench deeper than 1.5 m or a tunnel
involves the use of explosives
is carried out on or near pressurised gas mains or piping
is carried out on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines
is carried out on or near energised electrical installations or services
is carried out in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere
involves tilt-up or precast concrete
is carried out on, in or adjacent to a road, railway, shipping lane or other traffic corridor in use by traffic other than pedestrians
is carried out in an area of a workplace where there is any movement of powered mobile plant
is carried out in areas with artificial extremes of temperature
is carried out in or near water or other liquid that involves a risk of drowning
involves diving work.