19 June 2020

Audit of building sites to target unsafe practices

| My Gungahlin
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Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Mick Gentleman, and Minister for Transport and Municipal Services, Meegan Fitzharris, today announced that ACT Government inspectors and rangers will undertake a combined compliance audit of residential and commercial building sites across Canberra this week.

The audit will concentrate on unsafe practices on building sites that have the potential to harm workers or damage public property. Illegal parking and practices that could adversely impact the environment will also form part of the combined operation involving officers from Access Canberra’s Construction, Environment and Workplace Protection Division, Parking Operations, and Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS),” Mr Gentleman said.

“The combined program has a strong focus on educating those working on-site. Inspectors and rangers will be bringing issues of non-compliance to the attention of the builder in control of the site. They will also be distributing tips on how to ensure construction sites are kept safe and clean.

“Although this exercise is largely education-based, all non-compliance issues will be followed up to ensure they’ve been rectified. Enforcement action will be taken if warnings are disregarded,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Construction activity can sometimes result in damage to public property such as kerbs, footpaths and street trees. This can be costly for both developers and the ACT Government, so TAMS rangers will be advising builders of their obligations in relation to the protection of these assets and the surrounding environment,” Ms Fitzharris said.

Both the Housing Industry Association and the Master Builders Association indicated their support for the audit and the proactive educational approach being adopted.

Executive Director of Master Builders ACT, Kirk Coningham, welcomed the focus on education. “The shift to a collaborative approach in the Territory, with independent safety experts working constructively with construction teams, has delivered major improvements in safety,” he said. “Maintaining and expanding this spirit of collaboration rather than confrontation will make for safer sites and improved outcomes for our community. It’s a great initiative,” Mr Coningham said.

Executive Director of the Housing Industry Association, ACT/Southern NSW, Neil Evans, said, “These combined audits using Government inspectors and rangers will identify not only issues on building sites, they will also identify concerns on adjacent verges and give builders tips on how to protect footpaths, kerbs and trees.”

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