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Construction risks during the festive season

Safety News
22 November 2018

The lead up to the end of the year is traditionally a high-risk period for all sectors of the construction industry in South Australia. With just a few weeks left until the festive season, principal contractors, Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU’s) and workers may feel under pressure to get jobs completed prior to the holiday period.

While there are always a number of factors that contribute to any incident, a common factor in many of these end of year incidents is rushing to finish the job before going on leave.

The pressure to get the work finished all too often results in taking safety short cuts (e.g.: “let’s just quickly get this done”) and duty holders losing sight of some fundamentals of a safe construction workplace.

In the weeks leading up to the end of the year, principal contractors and PCBU’s need to ensure supervisory staff are especially vigilant. It’s important to reinforce safety with workers through site inductions or tool box talks and encourage them to take that extra five minutes to review safe work method statements (SWMS) before starting work.

Worker fatigue can also become an issue at this time of year, particularly when working longer hours due to extra hours of daylight available or during days of high temperatures. Fatigue can affect judgement, resulting in workers making mistakes or not identifying risks.

Be proactive and regularly remind workers that November and December are statistically high-risk months on construction sites. Reinforce the potentially disastrous consequences of taking short cuts, not only for themselves and their workmates, but also their families and friends.

Avoid tragedy in the lead up to this holiday season by staying focused on the most important aspect of construction work – ensuring you and your mates get home safely to your families every day.

Based on an article by WorkSafe Victoria.