The forklift driver involved in the accident at the Barangaroo construction site in August, which left a co-worker with serious injuries apparently didn’t hold the appropriate licence, a NSW CFMEU official claims.
During the incident last month, a worker in his 40’s was injured and had to be rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital for treatment.
Rita Mallia, president of the CFMEU’s NSW construction division said the driver was not in possession of the appropriate high risk licence.
The worker was hit by the forklift while on the ground, marking the area, Mallia claimed.
The construction of a railroad is more complex than one would think, thankfully the advancement of technology has made the process a little faster. Watch what goes in to rail road construction in this interesting video.
With a number of major infrastructure projects in the pipeline in south-east Queensland, particularly Mackay, Darling Downs – Toowoomba, Fitzroy, Wide Bay and The Sunshine Coast, workers from central Queensland where opportunities seem to have run dry, are moving south-east to pursue work.
The state’s construction industry fell from 232,700 employees in November, 2013, to 220,900 in February, 2015, fuelling fears that trade shortages are looming.
A recent post on Ferret.com.au discussed how the sickie culture was negatively impacting productivity on Australian worksites and perhaps most concerning is the fact that drugs and alcohol are a major contributor to sick days in our country.
In the construction sector we are already aware that alcohol and drug use is high, so revelations from researchers at Flinders University that alcohol and drugs are an increasingly worrying contributing factor to consider in sick days is not surprising.
Find out what you can do to combat this challenge in your business at http://www.ferret.com.au/c/mitrefinch-australia/how-hangovers-affect-your-business-n2523680
A bomb was found at a construction site in Bangkok recently, raising concerns of another terrorist attack.
A bomb recently went off at a popular shrine in Bangkok with a second bomb going off at a river a few days later.The latest bomb did not explode but was disarmed by police. Authorities said the discovery of the latest bomb did not have any connection to the previous explosions.
The Indian government has looked to the construction industry in their latest effort to empower women, in a society where they are often marginalized and left totally dependent on men.
Although construction is traditionally a male arena in most countries and especially so in developing nations like India, a campaign by the Indian government is empowering women in Kerala on “female only” construction projects.
See what they had to say here.
Work is the number one cause of stress.
Interestingly high penalties for mistakes and a lack of a challenge are 2 of the reasons why work stresses us out.
Workers in the construction industry typically suffer from a high amount of stress and with the fact that a mistake can be deadly on a construction site, it’s no wonder why.
Find out what the other stressors in our lives are.
According to The Economist’s liveability rankings Melbourne is the world’s most livable city.
Other cities that topped the list were Vienna, Vancouver, Toronto, Adelaide and Calgary.
It was the fifth time Melbourne topped the list but social groups and planning experts say the list ignores some important factors such as high unemployment and poor transport.
Read more here.
The Queensland Building and Construction Commission provides some advice for tradies on the use of steel screw piers.
In a post on QBCC’s website, the importance of using screw piers (also known as screw piles) correctly is addressed because the consequences of incorrect installation can be costly.
More info, click here.
According to the latest figures released by The Australia Bureau of Statistics, Queensland was the only State to record a rise in the total trend for building approvals in June.
Dwelling approvals rose by 15.9 per cent in June in Queensland, further proof of the state’s strong construction and property sectors. Find out more here.
According to the latest Safe Work Australia statistics, 92 Australian workers have been killed on the job since the beginning of 2015.
The construction industry is third on the list of most high risk industries in terms of fatalities with 10 construction workers having lost their lives in the last 7 months.
For more click here.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) is reminding tradespeople about the importance of safety in the workplace, especially wherever there is a risk of musculoskeletal injuries, which are common among tradespeople.
This video was created in conjunction with Tradie National Health Month to highlight the importance of tradie safety…
From 17-21 August, WorkSafe Victoria will be conducting the Safe Towns campaign throughout the Moe, Newborough and Trafalgar area.
More than 100 workplace safety inspections have been planned as part of the Safe Towns campaign.
The is area is one of concern for WorkSafe, as 400 injuries were recorded within the last 5 years. These injuries cost more than $12 million in treatment and rehabilitation.
Inspectors will be prioritising hazardous and high risk workplaces. Click here for more.
According to the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA), everyday 10 tradies are badly injured at work, so to raise awareness of this, they have declared August as Tradies National Health Month.
1 in 5 workplace related injuries are sustained by tradies, so this sector of the workforce is at an alarming risk of injury every day.
The APA hopes this initiative will educate tradies on the importance of health and safety.
Visit http://www.tradieshealth.com.au/ for more.
The sordid past of Victorian building surveyors has been brought to the forefront following crumbling of the Mount Waverley construction site (pictured above).
According to a post on TheAge.com.au, major failings have been exposed in Victoria’s building surveying industry. It appears that home owners have been left exposed to work that does not meet the most basic safety standards.
Since 2009, Victoria’s building surveyors have been found guilty over more than 700 misconduct claims. For more click here.
Staying safe on a high risk work site such as a building site means being alert and responsive. Fatigue can severely impair your ability to avoid injury and illness on the work site, so avoiding it is crucial to your health and safety. Not to mention that if you have a high risk job, such as crane operation, your fatigue can put others at risk. Here’s how you can a good night’s rest and avoid fatigue at work.
A builder has alleged that 2 CFMEU officials said they would actively promote his company in Canberra if the builder got his employees to join the union. And if he did not, he was warned by the officials that he would “struggle” to find work in Canberra, due to their wide influence in the industry.
The 2 officials apparently requested a meeting with the builder and then made their demands. To find out more, click here.
The City of London Corporation is investigating the wind caused by the architecture and design of a new skyscraper.
There have been claims from the public, that the skyscraper created a wind tunnel down one of the cities busiest thoroughfare.
The skyscraper is 180 metres high and has blown over workers due to the strong gusts of wind created by the vortex effect caused by the tall building.
Find out more here.
Safety on a construction site can be a complex issue but one of the most important aspects to consider in terms of site safety is traffic management and the development of traffic management plans.
While the control measures necessary will differ from site to site, there are certain issues to consider, like type of site, types of vehicles present, pedestrians etc. For more information on developing a successful traffic management plan, click here.
John Holland is hot water. The construction firm is facing charges from Comcare following an accident in 2013. It is alleged that the company failed to provide workers with a safe work environment and system of work, as legislation dictates they should.
A worker was injured when a crane hit into a work platform. The case will soon appear by the Adelaide Magistrates Court. Read more here.
In construction we know that time is money, so the quicker we can get the job done, the better for you and the client.
Want to learn to paint an entire room in one hour? Then watch this video for some useful tips.
Watch the following webinar which was released by WorkCover Queensland highlighting how employers can impact on the health and safety of young workers.
A worker on an old mine site was stung almost 90 times by bees during an environmental rehabilitation operation.
The man was taken to hospital after suffering around 90 bee stings to his head and upper body.
This incident reminds me of the risks of working on old sites, even in construction. You never know what pests you find when you begin an excavation or renovation of an older site, so you must proceed with caution and take the necessary control measures.
Find out more about this incident here.
Imagine a paint that could repel an unwanted substance? That’s exactly what San Francisco city officials have decided is the solution for urine soaked city walls.
The new paint technology actually repels urine and causes it to spray back onto the person urinating.
What will they think of next?
A cool construction fail video shows us exactly what happens when a wall collapses on a building site. Thankfully nobody was injured during this collapse…
The Department of Health, together with Deafness Forum of Australia will be raising awareness for protection of worker hearing with Hearing Awareness Week 2015.
Hearing Awareness Week is taking place between 23-29 August and aims to highlight the important of managing noise levels on work sites.
To get more information visit www.hearingawarenessweek.org.au
There are a number of hazards on the average construction site that can result in a fire, which is why fire response and evacuation procedures need to be developed before work on site even begins.
The construction site fire in this video was set on purpose but a number of possible ignition sources on construction sites means it can occur at any time and people’s lives are put at risk. It can also set work drastically, costing millions. Watch the fire below…
You’d be forgiven for thinking the intricate lattice designed facade above took years of toil and labor to complete, but the truth is a new development makes this kind of brick work a breeze.
The bricks themselves have been hollowed-out in a special design and are placed and glued into position by a specially designed robotic arm.
The development is the brain child of Swiss firm Gramazio Kohler
Find out more here.
Look closely at the walls of the classroom above. Can you spot what makes them unique? Instead of the traditional bricks, these walls are composed of used plastic cola bottles filled with concrete, soil and water.
The new construction material is not only cheap and readily available, but it is also apparently durable – being able to withstand earthquakes and heavy storms.
Read more about it here.
A former CFMEU official has pleaded not guilty to 2 counts of blackmail arising from allegations made during the Royal Commission hearings, with the latest allegations involving a Canberra builder who apparently paid off the official for peace on his work site.
The builder claims he was forced to pay $30,000 to the wife of the CFMEU official to avoid stop work orders being issued on his work site.
The builder says he paid the money because he was afraid of getting on the bad side of the union. Read the full story here.
The Hunter’s Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squad is investigating 2 truckloads of illegally disposed of waste in Lake Macquarie and the Lower Hunter.
Companies are being warned that illegal dumping can result in fines of up to $1 million.
Find out more here.
One tradie was pleased discover a hammer he had lost 23 years earlier during the demolition of a Mr Fluffy home in Canberra.
Brett Gibson, now working as a demolition supervisor on the Mr Fluffy homes demolitions lost his first hammer 23 years earlier while working as an apprentice.
Read more here.
Construction safety is no joke and this construction fail video is anything but humorous. It does however show us some the consequences of neglecting safety in the construction industry. Watch this video for more of what not to do in construction.
New skylifts for the Mornington Peninsula have just been approved. Construction on the $16m sky-lift for Arthurs Seat was recently approved and will probably begin soon.
The new tourist attraction will create jobs for people in Victoria and will boost tourism, according to Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister Lisa Neville.
Read more here.
Can you believe workers worked non-stop to demolish and then rebuild this bridge in just 14 hours? This is productivity at its best…
People had to evacuate their homes after a wall collapsed on a nearby construction site.
The Mt. Waverly homes had to be evacuated because they are on the brink of collapse due to the crumbling construction site nearby.
Witnesses say the wall crumbled like “cake”, when the site was being excavated to build a 3 storey building. The heavy rains are thought to have had some effect on the ground stability.
Read more here.
Bridge construction can be a huge and complicated task. Watch as this bridge is constructed over the period of a year, it certainly presents some unique hazards and complications, let’s see how they handled it.
In developing countries, where construction materials are expensive and scarce, innovative people are taking construction waste and doing something ingenious – recycling it into concrete blocks for construction. Watch this video that shows how they’re doing it.
According to a Safe Work Australia report, construction sites in The ACT have the highest rate of serious injuries.
Safe Work Australia data shows that 29 serious injury claims per 1000 workers in the territory during 2012-13, compared with just 12.9 in Victoria.
If you are a builder or worker in the ACT, ensure that you prioritize safety, so that we can see these high injury rates brought down.
Read more: http://www.canberratimes.com.au
Construction bosses and Master Builders Queensland are calling for the introduction of compulsory drug testing on construction sites. Employees say they fear attacks from co-workers that are hooked on ice and commonly bully them.
Employers say mandatory testing is crucial to identifying those employees that are abusing crystal meth, because otherwise these employees erupt on the work site and use violence on their co-workers.
To find out more, click here.
This video highlights exactly what can go wrong when you engage in construction work. The best construction fails of the year so far…
A man has emerged unscathed after plunging his vehicle 3 metres into a construction pit when he lost control at a roundabout. The man crashed through the security fencing and narrowly escaped injury when his vehicle went into a pit. The man was trapped for about one hour but managed to emerge from the pit without a scratch.
Find out more here.
Taking PPE to a whole new level, Ekso Bionics have created an exoskeleton which is aimed at making the lives of construction workers a little easier.
The exoskeleton uses the latest technology to deliver a totally weightless system, to make construction work safer and easier, improving productivity and minimising injury.
While the technology is still expensive (around $12,000) the company hopes it will be common in most construction sites in the next few years.
Would you wear it?
See here for more.
Record-breaking housing construction approvals will ensure that housing projects in the pipeline should sustain construction activity over the year.
According to figures recently released by The Australian Bureau of Statistics $57.6 billion worth of new homes were approved for construction in the past 12 months. That means over 200,000 dwellings will be constructed across Australia this year.
This activity is expected to slow soaring house prices. Find out more here.
Construction sites can be extremely high risk environments and sometimes despite our best efforts hazards still present themselves. In these situations it is crucial that workers and the public (or visitors to the site) are warned of hazards, safety protocol etc. using appropriately displayed signage.
A properly placed safety sign can go a long way in protecting the lives of construction workers by alerting them of possible hazards and reminding them of the steps they need to take.
Although we do receive safety training, we do need to sometimes have hazard warnings before our eyes so we don’t forget – construction site safety signs are an easy and efficient way to do that.
Find out more here.
Learning the fundamentals of construction safety is crucial, which is why The White Card training is so important. If you haven’t completed the white card course yet, you should do it asap and if you have, here is a video highlighting some common construction safety issues to refresh your memory.
According to reports Tony Abbott has received a shortlist of 30 potential dam projects from a ministerial task force headed by Agricultural Minister Barnaby Joyce. The Coalition’s Infrastructure campaigning during the last federal election seems to be coming to fruition, or at least plans seem to be underway.
The list contains the names of new dams for construction as well as the names of existing dams for expansion in Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland and NSW.
According to an article on Sourceable.net the following are some of dams contained in the shortlist,
In the Sunshine State, proposed projects include a new dam on the Fitzroy River just south of Rockhampton, the expansion of the Burdekin Dam in the north of the state, and the Nathan Dam near Brisbane.
A raft of new dam projects are envisaged for NSW, including an upgrade of the Chaffey Dam near Tamworth and the Menindee Lakes upgrade, both of which have received funding commitments from the Commonwealth, as well as the Needles Gap Dam and the Apsely Dam, which was shelved in the 1980s by the Wran government.
The shortlist also includes the third stage of the Ord River Scheme in the northernmost part of Western Australia, which could help shift water from Western Australia back into the Northern Territory, and a dam project in north-west Tasmania.
The article reminded readers of the fact that the Coalition made the construction of more dams a part of its federal election campaign when Tony Abbott also labelled himself as an “infrastructure Prime Minister in waiting”.
According to the Agricultural Minister the dams are primarily aimed at supporting the nation’s expansion agriculturally and in the mining sector which also demands a lot of water in its functioning. It is also hoped the mines will help revitalise the nation’s regional economies.
Agricultural Minister identified the need for more dams throughout the nation in order to prepare Oz for what Joyce described as a huge potential market for agricultural goods in Asia as well as to prepare for the for the next boom in the resources sector, which may be slowing down at the moment but will likely pick up again in the future.
Joyce also went on to describe how the damming of Queensland’s Fitzroy River and the construction of the Nathan Dam would provide the state with much needed water for the agriculture and mining industries.
Joyce went on to explain about the benefits of the shortlist:
Joyce said the delivery of the shortlist of dam projects was a sign of the government’s determination to make good on its infrastructure campaigning at the last election. He warned, however, that not all of the 30 projects on the shortlist, which had been narrowed down from a total of 100 proposals from prior to the election, were guaranteed to proceed, and that the assessment process was still ongoing.
According to government sources, around half of the projects on the list could commence work quickly, while the remainder would require further consideration.
According to the article the federal cabinet will take into consideration the dams report over the next few weeks but the final decision on which project to support will be made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott thereafter.
SafeWork Australia has recently warned that young workers can be at a risk of workplace injury due to their lack of experience as well as their immaturity. The authority is emphasising through a campaign aimed at young workers that they need to be supervised even more cautiously than other new workers and trained adequately.
Due to the increased risk that young workers are placed in, Safe Work Australia has launched its Young Workers Strategy.
An accident which took place in Oakville, Ontario is an example of what can happen when young people aren’t properly supervised or trained to work on a construction site. The 17 year old boy was hospitalised after the accident which place on the Oakville construction site.
According to an article on the local news site BramptonGuardian.com the boy was assisting in the construction of a trench when a collapse occurred. The post explained:
Police said the male was helping to build a trench on the side of the road near Dundas Road and Third Line when a wall collapsed, trapping him.
Ornge air ambulance attended the scene, but the teen was taken by land ambulance to a local hospital.
The extent of the male’s injuries is unclear.
Police said the Ministry of Labour has been contacted as is protocol.
This incident highlights how important it is for workers in construction to be trained prior to beginning work in this sometimes dangerous industry.
In Australia this prior training takes the form of The White Card course. This training ensures that young workers are familiarised with the hazards associated with construction work, such as trenches before they begin working on this hazardous sites. It is a requirement nationally that all workers undergo this training and obtain a White Card as proof of doing so.
This vulnerability of young workers is why SafeWork Australia has launched the Young Workers Strateg – because young people are often less aware of the risks and lack the maturity to cope well on a high risk work site.
According to SafeWork Australia these young workers often also demonstrate the following which make them vulnerable,
They may also be:
developing their skills, competencies and physical capabilities
unaware of their rights and responsibilities
unaware of the duties of others regarding workplace health and safety
unfamiliar with appropriate workplace behaviours
reluctant to make requests, ask questions or speak out about problems
overly keen to please and make a good impression, and
over-confident in their capabilities.
According to statistics from the Australian Bureau of Statistics there were 54,458 women and 54,864 men aged between 15 and 24 years in South Australia’s workforce, so those employers who think this issue is not an important one are wrong.
The majority of the young men employed between these ages were employed in the high risk industries, of which construction is one. That is why SafeWork SA is attempting to raise awareness of the issues surrounding these young men and women. They are particularly concerned with providing young workers with accessible information on workplace hazards, safety procedures and workplace rights. These are issues that are covered by the White Card Course as well.
For more information visit SafeWork SA’s website
Queensland authorities have adopted a unique approach to keeping road construction workers safe. Motorists driving along Gateway Motorway in Nudgee would have noticed the bright yellow figurines scattered on the road, which are a new innovative way of warning motorists of road construction.
The large, bright yellow “men” are being used as markers on the road to protect sensitive underground testing equipment and road workers.
The ingenious markers were created by civil construction firm Fulton Hogan and unlike the usual orange cones we’re so used to seeing, the new figurine markers attempt to tap into the psychology of people, helping them consider the human lives on the site.
According to Ron Mitchell from the Department of Main Roads and Transport, this is really the next phase of psychology of keeping people safe.
Mr Mishell explained that the idea for the figurines came from wanting workers to look out for equipment and each other, an issue which is quite serious on road construction sites where the main cause of injury and death is people being run over by vehicles and machinery.
The following excerpt from an article on Abc.net.au explains more from Mr Mishell,
“This really is the next phase of psychology of keeping people safe.
“If people think and want to keep safe there is a good chance they will be.
“The figurines have created a bit of a stir and it has been a good opportunity for us to let people know this is the sort of thing we will do in the future.”
The figurine markers are also equipped with reflective gear for night work just like construction workers are, this is to make it look more real. Mr Mishell explained this is especially useful for keeping trucks at bay on the site,
Mr Mishell said the figurines had also been equipped with reflective gear for night work.
“A lot of work has been done on the reflective gear to make it look like a skeleton for the same principle at night,” he said.
“When the trucks see a skeleton-shaped person rather than a reflective strip on safety vest, it is easy for them to avoid the area.”
In addition to workers being run over by motorists and other construction workers, there were cases of essential equipment being damaged on the site until the figurines were introduced recently. Ultimately, the figurine markers protect both workers and equipment.
Mr Mishell also explained that each figurine had been placed on top of settlement plates that are used by the workers to monitor how much soil can be loaded onto the ground.
Perhaps in the future we may see more sites introducing fluorescent figurine markers which seem to be more effective than the regular old orange cones that we are so used to seeing and which many motorists just seem to ignore.
Mr Mishell said that the initiative was particularly needed in the Nudgee area because of its location near wetlands which make mud and settlement difficult to build highways on. These types of developments improve safety and promote productivity, in the end everyone benefits. Mr Mishell explains:
“This is a great example of innovation by a contractor – to put them on the sensitive gear along the same principle of protecting our workers,” he said.
“None of what we do is cheap; we have all sorts of gear here but more importantly it is to make sure we build things properly,” he explained.
“Safety is the number one priority of all our projects.”
Road construction zones can be dangerous places especially at night. Everyone involved in the construction, maintenance and upkeep of our roads has to be possession of a White Card, just like every other construction worker in Oz.
There are a lot of young people who are looking for the right career and should take construction into consideration. The construction industry may be challenging in terms of health and safety, but the rewards are just as great and at the moment a skills shortage and high demand for workers means that rates are going up and workers are basically making their demands when picking and choosing their employer.
Even those young people with the goal of being their own boss can excel in the construction industry, all that’s needed is years of training and skills development. Specialists in the sector are in demand nationally with housing and infrastructure construction booming.
Deciding on a Trade Skill
One of the most difficult decisions in life is probably what career path to follow. Deciding on a trade and skills that you want to hone may be challenging but will pay off in the long run.
Conducting an aptitude test and seeking career advice from a counsellor can help but most people already know what they enjoy and what they are good at. For example some are more technically minded and prefer working with their hands, whereas others may prefer working with numbers. All these issues need to be considered when making a decision.
Also take into consideration what skills and trades are in the highest demand because these are the ones that you are most likely to find apprenticeships in.
How to Get a Job
According to Forbes.com there are six basic steps to searching for the right job. Below I included some of the steps I find the most useful:
The most useful tip I can give anyone seeking work in the construction sector, whether a skilled and seasoned tradespeople or a young person seeking an apprenticeship is to complete the White Card training. Employers are more interested in candidates that are already in possession of the mandatory White Card than those that still need to complete the training.
The course can be easily completed online with a short verbal assessment conducted over the phone. It is a relatively cost effective way of completing the training and is undoubtedly the most convenient.