26 September 2023

WorkSafe crosses border to join safety blitz

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WorkSafe Victoria is teaming up with its NSW counterpart for a construction safety blitz to support border communities.

Executive Director of Health and Safety at WorkSafe, Narelle Beer said the operation with SafeWork NSW would see the two authorities join forces during a week-long safety blitz targeting residential construction sites in Mildura and Buronga from 22 to 26 August.

Dr Beer said the event would raise awareness about the risks of exposure to hazardous crystalline silica dust which, if inhaled, could cause deadly lung and respiratory diseases such as silicosis.

“While many in the industry would be aware of the risks when working with engineered stone, fewer would know that unsafe cutting or crushing of products such as ceramic tiles, concrete, bricks and marble can also expose workers to dangerous crystalline silica dust,” Dr Beer said.

“Silicosis can have heartbreaking consequences for young workers and their families – that’s why we’re reminding employers and tradies of the steps they must take to ensure a safe workplace, no matter which side of the border they’re working on,” she said.

“Since the start of 2021, WorkSafe has accepted 88 claims from workers who have developed silica-related disease and sadly six workers have died.”

Dr Beer said falls from height also remained a significant safety risk in the construction industry on both sides of the border.

Regional Director Construction Services at SafeWork NSW, Laurence Richey said falls from heights was the number one killer on NSW construction sites.

“Residential construction continues to increase,” Mr Richey said.

“During their visits, inspectors will be paying particular attention to the basics such as site fencing, amenities, housekeeping, and work at heights to ensure safety,” he said.

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