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Explore effective risk management strategies for construction sites in New South Wales. Learn how to identify and assess risks, and implement measures to mitigate them for a safer workplace.

Risk Management Strategies for Construction Sites in New South Wales

The Construction Work Code of Practice outlines the risk management strategies for construction sites. These involve the skills and knowledge you acquire from general construction induction training (white card). The Code identifies managing risks as one method to ensure that the area will be healthy, safe, and productive for everyone involved. It is why it also requires construction workers to undergo training to understand and perform the strategies correctly. 

What is the Construction Work Code of Practice?

The Work Health and Safety Act (the WHS Act) approves this code under section 274. Safework Australia developed this code as one of its functions to achieve healthier, safer, and more productive workplaces throughout the country.

Who is Safework Australia?

Safe Work Australia is a statutory agency under the Australian government. Its members come from the following organisations:

  • Commonwealth
  • State and territory governments
  • Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Australian Chamber of Commerce 
  • Australian Industry Group

Safework Australia designs national policies to reduce the rate of work-related death, injury, and illness. One is the risk management strategies for New South Wales and Australia construction sites.

What is the Risk Management Strategies for Construction Sites?

The code of practice outlines the following risk management strategies for construction sites.

Identifying Hazards

Construction sites may impose the following hazards:

  • Accessibility, location, layout, and condition of the workplace.
  • Usage of ladders.
  • Improper placement and set up of equipment.
  • Holes and excavations that are not covered or guarded.
  • Penetrations and voids.
  • Trenches, shafts, and lift wells.
  • Incomplete mobile platform or scaffolding.
  • Cement sheet roofs, fibreglass roofs, skylights, and unprotected formwork decks are fragile.
  • Falling tools, debris, and equipment.
  • Trench and structure collapse.
  • Handling and transporting hazardous chemicals.
  • Materials with asbestos.
  • Arcs, gasses, and welding fumes.
  • Hazardous manual tasks.
  • Trade activities.
  • Interface with other work.
  • Electric shock.
  • Engulfment or immersion.
  • Explosion or fire.
  • Falls, slips, and trips.
  • A moving plant that struck workers.
  • Exposure to heat, noise, vibration, cold, radiation, static electricity, or a contaminated atmosphere.
  • Confined space.

Identifying these hazards is the first step to managing risks associated with construction work.

Assessing the Risks

Assessing the risks in construction sites include:

  • The chances and severity of illness or injury that may occur.
  • The possibility of wide-ranging and severe effects.

Risk assessment is required in specific situations, such as working with asbestos. It helps in determining the control measures required.

Importance of Risk Assessment

A risk assessment will help:

  • Identify the workers at risk of exposure.
  • Determine the sources and developments of the risk.
  • Come up with the appropriate control measures.
  • Review the effectiveness of existing control measures.

Assessments are only required when the risk and control measures still need to be identified.

Controlling the Risks

Risk control includes a hierarchy of control measures ranked from the highest level of protection and reliability to the lowest.

Eliminating the Risk

The most effective control measure is removing the hazard or hazardous work practice from the construction site. However, in some cases, it is impossible to eliminate a possible source of risk from the workplace. So, the subsequent control measures are advised.

Minimising the Risk

The following methods may help minimise the risk at construction sites:

  • Substituting a hazard or hazardous work practice with a less hazardous one.
  • Isolating the hazard or hazardous work practice to separate it from the people.
  • Using physical and administrative control measures.
  • Using personal protective equipment (PPE).

Mixing any of the above control measures may help control risk.

Reviewing Control Measures

Reviewing control measures by doing the following help identify if they are effective:

  • Inspection of the construction site.
  • Consultation with the construction workers.
  • Data testing and analysis.

Doing this step also means reviewing the Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS).

Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS)

A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) allows people involved to understand the requirements established to create a healthy and safe workplace. A person conducting high-risk construction work prepares the SWMS.

Emergency Plan

Construction workers must receive information, training, and instruction on the emergency plan implementation, which must include the following:

  • Effective emergency response.
  • Procedures for the evacuation.
  • Notification to emergency service organisations.
  • Treatment and assistance for medical needs.
  • The communication process between the authorised person and all the construction workers involved.

Regular testing of the emergency plan is required.

Why is Risk Management Important in Construction Sites?

Safework Australia states on its website that risk management is essential to keep people safe in construction sites that are in dangerous environments.

How to Conduct Risk Management Strategies for Construction Sites?

The Code of Practice outlines the requirement for construction workers to pass general induction training. Involved people must complete this before they start any on-site job.

What is General Induction Training?

General induction training covers the following:

  • Knowledge of the basics of construction work.
  • Work health and safety laws.
  • Hazards in construction sites.
  • Controlling the risks associated with construction work.

The Code states that Registered Training Organisations deliver this throughout the country.

Who Delivers the General Induction Training?

Training.gov.au identifies many registered training organisations with the approved scope of delivering such courses. The National Register on Vocational Education and Training (VET) is a government agency.

One of these is Accredited Short Courses (RTO NO 21903) which delivers general induction training at Unit 12, Level 3, 325 Pitt St Sydney, New South Wales. It offers a regular 6-hour course for the updated code CPCWHS1001 – Prepare to work safely in the construction industry for $140.

How Does the General Induction Training Help with the Risk Management Strategies for Construction Sites?

Identification of construction hazards and risk control measures are among the coverage of the general induction training, which includes:

  • Identification of the basic principles of risk management.
  • Identification and discussion of the construction hazards.
  • Purpose and proper usage of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Hazards identification and control measures.

The above items are discussed in the risk management strategies identified in the Construction Work Code of Practice.

Conclusion

The risk management strategies for construction sites involve many steps. It includes identifying hazards, assessing the risks, controlling the risks, reviewing control measures, and creating an emergency plan. General induction training covers the required knowledge and skills to perform these risk management strategies on construction sites correctly. Registered Training Organisations such as the Accredited Short Courses (RTO NO 21903) delivers general induction training in its New South Wales location.