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ACT Government cracking down on on Construction Industry

Construction siteIn a large scale crack down on the local construction industry the ACT government is sending a clear message that the industry recent safety record will not be tolerated.

The strong action is in response to a damning independent review called ”Getting Home Safely”, into the industry that has seen the government adopt all the recommendations made.

 

 

The inquiry recommends a massive shake-up of ACT construction training, enforcement and culture. The ACT has the worst record for construction site safety in Australia with one in every 40 workers expected to sustain a serious injury on the job each year. The territory’s rate of serious injury is nearly double the national average.

The government has flagged it will pass the cost of future safety compliance and workers’ compensation onto insurers to help fund the ACT Work Safety inspectorate.

The government has already committed to eight of the report’s 28 recommendations when it received it in November – including employing new safety inspectors, naming and shaming dodgy builders and introducing on-the-spot fines for safety breaches.

It will commit to all 28 recommendations, and issue a strong expectation that employers and unions will play their part in reducing safety risks on construction sites.

What has been interesting is the recent action of the Master Builders Association who have decided to undertake its own review into the inquiry report – chaired by Major-General Steve Gower. Why the MBA feel the need to do that is unclear and possibly aimed at reducing the impact on their industry members.

A Construction Safety Advisory Committee is expected to propose new safety training and an increase of the Building and Construction Training Fund from 0.2 per cent to 0.3 per cent.

The government has flagged it will progressively transfer the cost of regulating ACT workers’ compensation and Workplace Health and Safety legislation to workers’ compensation insurers through a levy.

This will mean that employers and the self-employed renewing premiums after July 1 are likely to pay more .For an employer with an annual wages bill of $150,000, the increase will cost about $22.50 extra for a workers’ compensation insurance policy in 2013/14 (capped at 0.015 per cent of the declared wages bill).

The ACT and Northern Territory are the only regions to have not moved to full or partial cost-recovery for workers’ compensation. ACT taxpayers spend $5 million to monitor and enforce the scheme.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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