August 2014 Newsletter

This newsletter finds us in the beginning of the month of August and the cold “EKKA” winds starting to make their presence felt.

In the area of WHS it has been a horror start to the new financial year, with 2 fatal accidents in the past week.

Some of the statistics are as follows from the department’s 48 Construction Inspectors:

  • There were 10 work related fatalities in Queensland Construction in 2013 – 2014.
  • 2765 complaints were made about hazardous job sites.
  • 1350 improvement notices were issued to builders and contractors over unsafe practices.
  • 750 stop – work orders were issued at high risk sites.
  • 330 incidents / accidents were notified.
  • 32 fines ranging between $200 and $3600 were issued.

At present the Office of Fair Trading and Safe Work Queensland is finalizing a 2014-2017 action plan for the construction industry targeting “critical risks/issues related to fatalities” We understand this will focus on working moving equipment and vehicles, falls prevention, site management and mentoring of young workers.

Watch this space as we will send through further information once it comes through!!!!

On another issue that is close to most business owners / managers and that is the “contractors” Here is some pro active advice. Here are some facts for you!

According to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics report there are now almost one million Australians who work as independent contractors in their main job! By far the most common industry in this use / working as an independent contractor is Construction with 304,800 people.

So who many of you have hired independent contractors to undertake work for you only to witness them doing unsafe acts and they are seemingly oblivious to it? What do you do about it? How do you minimize the chance of this occurring?….REMEMBER YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM IN YOUR WORK AREA…….THEY ARE PART OF YOUR WORK TEAM!

We all know it is too late once they get to the site and start working, so our words of advice for you this month is to PLAN!!!!

Planning falls into a couple of headings; Scope, Tender Development, Evaluation and then the contract.

Get the planning process correct and the pain at the process end will ease!

Scoping: Look at the work that you are going to engage the contractor in. Make sure you do not just look at the tasks they are going to perform. Look at the Health and Safety issues associated with the task. Some thought provokers are.

  • What key tasks MUST be performed to achieve the outcome you want?
  • Could they involve high risk activity or environment? (heights, Confined space)
  • Could there be hazardous materials / dangerous goods needed for the task?
  • Will the materials and equipment they require create hazards?
  • Where or what can go wrong? Is there the possibility to take short cuts by the contractor?

Tender Development: There are 2 parts to every tender. Developing the tender documents (regardless of the format they take) and evaluating the responses.

Part of this documentation is to ensure the requirements for the following of safety procedures, policies etc. is very clearly focused upon.

Also at this point you look at how they approach their responsibility to WHS matters.

  • Their safety records from past work.
  • Do they carry any certification for their Safety Management System?
  • What are their qualifications and their competencies of any other workers they may need to assist them in the contractual work?
  • How do they induct and train their workers?
  • What process do they use, and how often do they carry out consultation and communication to the head contract or yourself as the business owner?

Evaluation: This is the stage where you undertake a thorough assessment of the contractor’s health and safety capabilities, maturity and performance. Do not be ashamed to ask for further information / clarification or even an interview with them.


The contract: Obviously you will need to have some form of contract or agreement between you and the contractor. Some recommendations that should be included (should you need to refer back to them) are;

  • The need for them to follow YOUR health and safety requirements when they come into your work site. Failure to do so will be dealt with!
  • Health and safety roles and responsibilities need to be clearly set out for both the contractor and also yourself as the “employer” (PCBU)
  • Process for eliminating / reporting hazards and risks. Steps to follow. Time frames.
  • Process for inspections and audits.
  • Communication requirements, including site or workplace specific inductions.

All of these actions help to ensure that the contractor you choose is one with a good health and safety mindset and that they understand your expectations of a safe work environment.

We hope that this has again given you some information and assisted you in ensuring you are doing as much as is “reasonably practicable” to maintain a safe work environment by also managing your hazards and risks.Remember if there is anything you need assistance with, you know who to contact!!!

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Workplace Health & Safety Consultants

PO Box 678
Bribie Island QLD 4507
Tel: 07 3410 8482

Worplace Health & Safety Training and Audits

WH&S Services:

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