• Employers must, so far as was reasonably practicable, provide and maintain for employees, including contractors and their employees, a working environment that is safe and without risk to health.
• Employers and self-employed persons must ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, that persons are not exposed to risks to their health or safety arising from the conduct of the undertaking of the employer or self-employed person.
The construction chapter of the OHS Regulations specifies that the risks associated with construction work must be eliminated. If not reasonably practicable to eliminate, then risks must be reduced using the hierarchy of risk control for construction work, so far as reasonably practicable.
With the high winds of Spring fast approaching, ensure:
• partially-completed buildings and structures are well supported e.g frames and brick, block or concrete walls are adequately braced to withstand the expected wind loads
• construction materials such as roofing sheets, ply wood, plasterboard and other loose materials are secured to prevent them being picked up by the wind and being blown around or out of the site
• scaffolds are tied into structures or adequately braced for the wind loads
• scaffold planks are secured to prevent uplift
• scaffolds with hoarding or shade cloth are engineered with the increased wind loads taken into consideration
• site hoardings and temporary fences are appropriate secured to prevent them being blown over by wind
• good housekeeping practices are followed to ensure loose materials and waste are contained.
I encourage builders and contractors to be proactive and implement control measures now rather than waiting until the last minute. Consult with site supervisors, contractors and workers to develop appropriate control measures and site rules to address the risks associated with wind.
Ensure workers coming onto the site are inducted into the site rules and monitor the site to ensure the requirements for bracing of structures and securing materials is observed.
Use a weather service monitor to ensure a change in the weather won’t come as a shock. There are many smart-phone apps now available to alert you of pending high winds.
For more information see Construction Safety Focus – Structural Collapse and the further information section for additional guidance
Credit: WorkSafe Victoria(08/09/2017).