This industry includes:
- the construction or demolition of buildings and other structures
- additions, alterations or reconstruction of buildings and other structures
- installation work
- maintenance and repairs of buildings and other structures.
Construction is one of the industries identified as a national priority for prevention activities in the Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy (external link).
Most common hazards and injuries
Workers in this industry are likely to be injured at work due to:
- body stressing
- falls, slips and trips
- being hit by moving objects.
Common hazards that workers in this industry are exposed to include:
- working at heights
- working near overhead power lines
- lifting heavy objects
- alcohol and drugs
- hot and cold weather conditions.
Legal responsibilities: Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU)
On a large construction job, there can be many PCBUs:
- the main or principal contractor on the site (also called the ‘principal’) has overall responsibility for ensuring (as far as is reasonably practicable) a safe worksite and making sure there are proper facilities for workers
- individual sub-contractors working on the site are responsible for the workers under their control or direction, and must consult with the principal to manage safety.
- PCBUs supplying and delivering goods to the site must comply with any safety directions made by the principal.
Legal responsibilities: Workers
- follow site safety rules and Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS)
- not put their workmates at risk
- report any incidents or hazards to their supervisor
- wear and look after any personal protective equipment connected with their work.
Consult and co-ordinate
With the potential for there to be many PCBUS on busy construction site, the principal must make sure there’s a process for co-ordinating and sharing information with sub-contractors and their workers.
Toolbox meetings are a useful way to get everyone on site to understand and contribute to the management of risk.
Onsite documents and information
You must have these documents available onsite:
- Safe Work Method Statements for the high risk components of the project
- your WHS Management Plan (for construction projects over $250,000)
- Safety Data Sheets for any hazardous chemicals used
- signage on the front fence with your after-hours contacts and personal protective equipment required to be worn.
It makes good sense to have documented:
- site safety rules
- emergency procedures and contacts
- a register of worker’s white card/licence details
- your hazard or incident reporting process.
You can find templates for these in our Safety in Construction Kit.
You or your workers may need these licences to work in the construction industry:
- white card
- high risk work
- asbestos removal
- licensing for trades (electrical/plumbing/gasfitting/building).