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The Construction Industry from a 5WH Perspective

Posted by Andrew Watters on

Our 5WH review of electrical safety and WHS resources proved popular, so we thought we'd bring you a similarly helpful (or dare I say 'constructive') critique of the construction industry and its resources. This method asks 'Why', 'Who', 'Where', 'When', 'What' and 'How' questions for this diverse and more challenging sector.

We'll ask:

  1. Why bother?
  2. Who is responsible for safety?
  3. Where do construction hazards and risks happen?
  4. When things go wrong, what is required?
  5. What can improve safety outcomes?
  6. How can you access effective and affordable resources?

At the risk of being awkwardly punny - because I enjoy a good pun - and in the interests of keeping this both constructive and riveting for you, our goal is to:

  1. Equip you to nail those safety issues,
  2. Empower you to avoid screwing it up, and
  3. Help you make your decisions using concrete facts and proven resources. ;)

Why Bother?

As with our March Review of Electrical Safety, we want to begin by asking if this is worthy of our attention? If you're reading this article, you probably already know the answer is "Yes!"

When we talk about the construction industry, we're talking about an enterprise sector that involves extreme and numerous risks. High hazard and risk control standards are appropriate because there is an ever-present potential for death or severe injury. High levels of enforcement exist, and significant financial investment is required. Besides, who wants to live with the burden of knowing they screwed up in a way that caused injury or death?

Who is Responsible for Construction Industry Safety?

If you are a principal contractor or a subcontractor, you have a significant burden under work health and safety legislation, regulations and codes of practice.

There is nowhere to hide, and when the ISO45001 standard comes into effect next year, it will become even more demanding. Awareness, commitment and extended effort are appropriate. In addition, Workplace Manslaughter and Industrial Manslaughter crimes now exist in most Australian jurisdictions.

The message is clear: anybody who operates with a slack hand in this area needs to change their ways. The good news is that we're here to help.


Now, let's look at some meatier items.

Where do Construction Hazards and Risks Happen?

The WHS Regulations (2017) define construction industry activities as those which involve constructing, altering, converting, fitting-out, commissioning, renovating, repairing, maintaining, refurbishing, demolishing, decommissioning or dismantling a structure. That's a lot of activities where many things can go wrong.

Part 299 of these regulations define 19 specific 'High Risk' activities. We discussed these along with other SWMS requirements back in June 2021.

You must be fully provisioned for and enforce SWMS compliance for each activity.

These significant demands are not without justification. They arose out of concrete and tragic facts. For example, using the Safe Work Australia Construction Industry Profile (2015), we learn that a whopping 79% of accidents involve:

  • Body stressing,
  • Falls, trips and slips, or
  • Being hit by moving objects.

We also learnt that the three most significant causes of fatality were:

  1. Falls from height (28%),
  2. Vehicle incidents (16%), and
  3. Working with electricity (15%).

We care about these numbers because they tell us where remedial planning is required, where to be especially alert, and where to remain vigilant. The 'where' question is valuable because it tells us what to focus on - and that is what we do!

When Things Go Wrong, What is Required?

Your incident and accident responses must demonstrate coverage of your duty of care and a current activity level that demonstrates your continuing due diligence. The pre-event existence of your hierarchy of controls must be evident; your documentation must be adequate, and there is more.

An overview of sorts would include:

  1. You must be pre-prepared,
  2. You must correctly respond,
  3. You must document the event,
  4. You must record your response,
  5. You must register your post-response assessment and actions,
  6. You must (almost always) make a remedial or corrective response of some form,
  7. You must follow the established processes, AND
  8. You must be fully compliant with relevant safety legislation.

That's a lot of 'You must' items, which is why incidents and accidents are painful on multiple levels. But you can reduce their frequency and consequence by using effective and affordable resources and following their proven ways.

What can Improve Safety Outcomes in Construction?

Construction safety IS ACHIEVABLE! The Safe Work Australia profile mentioned earlier told us of a 31% decrease in serious claims between 2002 and 2012 and a 36% decrease in fatalities between 2003 and 2014. That's awesome! This is good news, and it also tells us that with proactive, deliberate and professional action, we can continue to save lives and reduce incidents and accidents.

It also helps my team and I to love doing what we do.

Safety is ultimately a matter of worker understanding and compliance at site level. However, management must implement more complex strategies like regulatory compliance, planning, resourcing, training, leadership, supervision, and numerous checks and documentation activities.

With this in mind, I'm confident you'll find our Construction Industry SWMS bundle and our WHS Management System worthy of consideration.

How can you Access Effective and Affordable Resources?

Call us now on 1800 304 336, and we'll help you identify the best solutions from our comprehensive and versatile resource library. Alternatively, read on and learn about two of our construction-specific bundles.

The Construction Industry SWMS Pack

If you are a PCBU, you must prepare and follow a Safe Work Method Statement for ALL high-risk activities - or you must ensure your subcontractors do it. This is the minimum.


In addition to these, tenders often require additional SWMS documents, and as our clients have asked us over the years, we've added these to the industry pack. As a result, our Construction Industry Safe Work Method Statements Bundle has become a formidable resource. Its features include:

  • 70 x work process templates.
  • 30 x tool use templates.
  • A less than $19 per unit fee (on average).
  • A remarkable $1,890 (EX) price tag (i.e. a 70% batch discount).

You can take a closer look at the Construction Bundle here. Alternatively, a complete list of all available SWMSs is here, and if you don’t need all the SWMS in our bundles , give us a call on 1800 304 336. We'll work with you to create a tailored solution, consisting of only SWMS you require.

The Construction Industry WHS Management System

This Construction Industry WHS Management System features:

  • A complete WHS Management System specifically designed for construction.
  • The complete Construction SWMS Pack mentioned above.
  • All the documents you need to implement and demonstrate compliance with Work Health and Safety legislation, regulations and codes.

Take a look at this comprehensive resource here, and you'll see that it's our most expensive product for a reason. This quality resource can save lives, limbs, fines, reputations, and profit margins.

 

All Our Products …

It's also worth reminding you that these resources, and all our products, are:

  • Ready-made documents. You add your company data and site specifics.
  • Fully editable in a Microsoft Word format.
  • Instantly downloadable. You can have them today.
  • A one-time purchase, free from ongoing subscriptions.
  • Fully supported via Australian experts available via phone and email.
  • Updated free of charge for the first year with up to a 70% discount after that time.

So, another 5WH review comes to an end. How did we do? Was that constructive enough? Did we nail it? Did we show you how to avoid screwing up? Did we provide enough concrete facts and proven resources? Did I make you cringe with my attempts at humour?

Rest assured, I make up for it with truly ripper resources.

Thomas Edison said, "Good fortune happens when opportunity meets with preparation," and we've done the preparation for you. Call us to learn more about our products, ask a question or simply connect. Our difference is our commitment to detail and our devotion to supporting you. To experience these benefits for yourself, call 1800 304 336.


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