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The importance of occupational work health and safety in construction

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Australia relies on the construction industry for many reasons – for work, housing, and community use to name a few. According to research, 1.18 million people were employed in the Australian construction industry, with an estimated growth to 1.28 million by 2024.

An important industry means the importance of health and safety. And, taking care of the health and safety of our construction workers wouldn’t be possible without the knowledge and practice of occupational health and safety (OSH) or work health and safety (WHS) as it is now referred to.

Want to know the real place and importance of occupational health and safety in construction?
Read more from your team at Construction Training Fund (CTF) to find out.

Why construction safety matters

Occupational health and safety is important across all workplaces. However, it’s arguably even more essential within the construction industry.

These aspects of health and safety should be thought about before and monitored throughout the entire project process.

Why? Because missing the mark on health and safety can lead to avoidable added expenses, loss of productive time, injury or in the worst-case scenario, even death.

Construction safety matters.

Knowledge and practice of proper occupational health and safety measures on all construction sites is a necessity.

Plus, doing so can actually benefit you and your business to:

  • Remain compliant

Adhering to occupational health and safety on site doesn’t just allow peace of mind, it’s also a legal requirement. You can avoid fines and penalties by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by establishing and implementing a proactive approach to workplace health and safety.

  • Respond as quick as possible to incidents

Workplace incidents and accidents can happen unexpectedly. By having processes in place beforehand, plus readily available working safety equipment, workers and management can respond quickly, to limit damage and/or injury.

  • Create and maintain a safe environment and reputation

Everybody deserves to feel mentally and physically safe at work. Creating and maintaining a safe environment can limit incidents, lessen expenses and safeguard company's reputation.

  • Take advantage of incentives

Workers from sole traders, employers, to mid-level career employees can take advantage of incentives, such as claiming back course fees from CTF.

That’s right! If you complete an Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) course by a credited registered training organisation (RTO), you may be eligible to receive a subsidy from CTF.

The most common risks in the construction industry

There are many site-specific risks on a construction site.

Let’s take a look at the most common ones:

  • Heavy lifting – with the requirement to handle heavy and sometimes awkwardly sized objects.
  • Hand tools and powerful machinery usage – including, but not limited to, power tools, saws, shovels and crowbars.
  • Slips, trips and falls – such as slipping on wet surfaces, tripping over uneven ground or falling from a ladder.
  • Noise pollution from equipment - like concrete cutters, drills and saws.
  • Environmental contaminants – think asbestos, dust and synthetic mineral fibres.

Most of the above worker hazards occur due to inadequate training, lack of supervision, working alone, trying to impress co-workers or the boss, and/or being uninformed of their rights of working in a safe environment.

You can mitigate these risks by ensuring your staff complete regular and up-to-date occupational health and safety training from a registered training provider.

Site Safety Tips

For further prevention, take a look at our helpful site safety tips:

  • Ensure all workers on a building or construction site are provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), related to the work undertaken.
  • Utilise clear and sufficient signage throughout the site
  • Have a dedicated first aid officer per 25 workers and a first aid kit in an accessible area
  • Secure heavy items
  • Minimise and manage risk, always
  • Do not commence work until a safe work method statement (SWMS) is prepared for all high-risk construction projects.

The importance of OSH short-courses

There are 3 benefits to completing occupational health and safety courses:

  1. You can attend an assigned worksite knowing you have the knowledge and skills to support health and safety.  Not only for yourself, but to manage and safeguard others too.
  2. Having the confidence of compliance, doing the right thing by your employees and building/reinforcing safe, quality work practices.
  3. Priceless peace of mind.
  4. Finally, we also offer short-course training rebates for people working in our industry.

If you’re working in the WA construction industry and successfully complete an approved short course through a WA RTO, you could be eligible for a rebate of up to 80% of the course cost.

Please remember that CTF rebates are only paid for approved courses offered by registered training providers. Other eligibility requirements apply, please refer to the CTF guidelines for more information.

You can claim a rebate for as many approved, completed courses as you like! Find out more here.

Here at CTF, we exist to create a highly skilled and sustainable workforce within the Western Australian building and construction industry. How do we do it? By collecting a training levy and using this to reduce the cost of training a diverse, job-ready workforce.

We’re big believers in supporting the education of the next generation and providing exciting and innovative roles and opportunities in this crucial, rapidly growing industry. So, if you complete an OSH course by a credited RTO, you may be eligible to receive a subsidy from CTF.

Have you recently completed an OSH short course through a West Western Australian RTO?

Contact CTF today for more information.

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Acknowledgement of Country

The Construction Training Fund acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land throughout Western Australia and pay our respect to the Elders both past and present. We thank them for their ongoing custodianship of the lands and waters, and celebrate their rich culture of art, song, dance, language, and stories.