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Construction action plan

SafeWork SA is working with business and industry to improve health and safety outcomes. This industry action plan identifies who, how and where people are being injured most and what we will do to contribute to the reduction of workplace injuries across South Australia.

South Australian work injury claims

South Australian work injury claims graph

South Australian Work Injury Claims Graph

Average claims costs 2013-2016

Average Claims Costs

Most common bodily injuries

  • head – 12%
  • psychological injury – 2%
  • upper limbs – 39%
  • trunk – 21%
  • lower limbs – 22%

Injury causes

  • body stressing
  • being hit by moving objects
  • falls, trips and slips of a person
  • hitting objects with part of body
  • mental stress

Psychological injury

Despite a low percentage of psychological injury claims being lodged, we are aware that mental health and illness is an issue that requires attention.

“The high rates of suicide in construction provide us with a strong indication that poor mental health exists amongst workers within the industry”.

Caption:  Dr A Milner, Dr P Law, Summary Report: Mental Health in the construction industry. p6. Mates in Construction 1 June 2017.

Strategic outcomes

These strategic outcomes have been derived from the national Safe Work Australia Strategic Plan and South Australia’s priority work health and safety focus areas.

Healthy and safe by design

  • Structures, plant and substances are designed to eliminate or minimise hazards and risks before they are introduced into the workplace.
  • Work, work processes and systems of work are designed and managed to eliminate or minimise hazards and risks.


  • Everyone in the workplace is aware of youth developmental stages and are informed to make sound decisions on the tasks and conditions needed to ensure that young workers are able to work safely.


  • Governments use their investment and purchasing power to improve work health and safety.
  • Government departments promote community safety and provide education to support community health and safety.

Supply chains and networks

  • Supply chain and network participants understand their cumulative impact and actively improve the health and safety of the supply chain.
  • Commercial relationships within supply chains and networks are used to improve work health and safety.
  • Industry leaders champion work health and safety in supply chains and networks.

Leadership and culture

  • Communities and their leaders drive improved work health and safety.
  • Organisational leaders foster a culture of consultation and collaboration which actively improves work health and safety.
  • Health and safety is given priority in work processes and decisions.

Health and safety capabilities

  • Everyone in a workplace has the work health and safety capabilities they require.
  • Those providing work health and safety education, training and advice have the appropriate capabilities.
  • Work health and safety skills development is integrated effectively into relevant education and training programs.

Physical, mental health and wellbeing

  • Industry and individual workplaces capacity to manage health and safety injuries, and health and wellbeing is increased.

Research and evaluation

  • The results of research and evaluation are disseminated and implemented.

Our focus areas

  • Avoiding utility strikes
  • Asbestos
  • Apprentices
  • Elevating work platforms
  • Body stressing
  • Safety culture and leadership
  • Contract management
  • Falls prevention
  • Heat stress
  • Mental health

What we will do 2017-2019

  1. Work with industry stakeholders to share technical knowledge and expertise, in addition to providing practical advice and support to small business seeking information on their health and safety responsibilities.
  2. Work with industry stakeholders to develop guidance material addressing high risk work, including the risk associated with:
    • civil works
    • working near underground and overhead essential services
    • working in hot conditions.
  3. Disseminate information and advice addressing key focus areas to improve work health and safety knowledge and awareness of practical solutions.
  4. Partner with government agencies and other industry stakeholders to incorporate safety in the concept, tendering and procuring stages of a construction project.
  5. Physical and Mental Health and Wellbeing Program
    • Collaborate with other government agencies to design and implement additional health and wellbeing programs including construction stressors, fatigue, effects of drugs and alcohol, and other lifestyle factors.
  6. Safety Leadership and Culture Program
    • Build supervisor/middle management capacity to provide work health and safety leadership.
    • Support tier one and two companies to drive positive cultural change.
    • Support supply chain networks to influence positive health and safety changes.
  7. Young Workers Strategy
    • Provide education and advice on shared duties of registered employers and host employers to encourage good construction work processes and systems of work for apprentices.
  8. Engage with industry stakeholders and interested parties to increase awareness of asbestos risks and asbestos management to all duty holders, including the community.
  9. Fall prevention safety campaign to improve awareness of risk to health and safety and other practical control measures.
  10. Engage with industry stakeholders to find solutions to the risks associated with elevating work platforms, including engineering controls and safety campaigns to improve operator awareness.