Tuesday 24 June 2014

Gale warning for construction sites

Construction companies have been warned to prepare for gale force winds across Victoria today as an intense low pressure system crosses the state.

“Strong winds can occur at any time of year, so all construction companies need to be ready for days like today,” Victorian WorkCover Authority Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, said.

“Tragically, a builder died yesterday when a brick wall fell on him at a construction site in Brighton East during strong winds,” Mr Neist said. “Every year, there are serious incidents in which strong winds lead to the collapse of walls on buildings under construction.”

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts winds of up to 125km/h along the coast and in alpine areas and peak gusts of up to 110km/h in northern parts of the state today. Elsewhere damaging winds of 40-60km/h are expected with peak gusts of up to 110km/h.

“Builders must ensure partially-completed buildings and structures are well supported. Brick, block and concrete walls should be adequately braced until work is completed,” Mr Neist said.

“When structures collapse, the chance of death or serious injury is high. The risk is not just to the workforce, but passers-by, neighbouring premises and emergency services’ workers.”

Mr Neist also reminded industry of the dangers of flying debris. “Roofing sheets and other loose materials must be secured to prevent them being picked up by the wind and being blown around or out of the site,” he said.

Mr Neist urged any employer or employee wanting further information to contact the VWA’s Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or visit vwa.vic.gov.au/preventingstructuralcollapse

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Peter Flaherty: 0478 881 663, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Kate Fawcett: 0478 305 640, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email info@worksafe.vic.gov.au or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.