Two companies working in the construction sector have each entered into an enforceable undertaking to spend a total of $570,000 on industry-wide education material and training programs.
Civil contractor Geotech Pty Ltd will spend more than $370,000 on new guidance material and training programs following an incident in 2013 in which two employees were injured when a shotcrete wall collapsed on a construction site in Hawthorn.
As part of its Enforceable Undertaking, Geotech will develop guidance material around the safe construction of shotcrete retaining walls, and develop a training course on the subject to educate project managers, site managers and site supervisors.
Hansen Yuncken Pty Ltd will spend $201,000 on a new guidance note in relation on working from heights and the prevention of falling objects following an incident in 2013 in which a metal rod fell into an exclusion zone where workers were operating. No-one was injured.
As part of its Enforceable Undertaking, Hansen Yuncken will produce guidance material written specifically for midrise (4-10 storey) multi-residential structures.
WorkSafe issued charges against both companies as result of the incidents in 2013.
On 30 January 2013, a Geotech employee was laying shotcrete when an earth and rock wall collapsed. He was pinned under rock and debris while another suffered minor injuries.
On 4 June 2013 at a construction site run by Hansen Yuncken at Deakin University at Burwood, a 3.9 metre metal rod acting as a temporary handrail fell 12 metres into an exclusion zone where workers were operating.
WorkSafe can accept an Enforceable Undertaking as an alternative to prosecution if it believes a company’s commitments offer tangible benefits for workplace health and safety that are above and beyond a penalty likely to be imposed by a court. As a result, all charges against both companies were withdrawn on 30 April.
Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, said Enforceable Undertakings provided the opportunity to deliver tangible health and safety benefits to workers, industry and the community as a whole.
“The commitments made by Geotech and Hansen Yuncken are great examples of how Enforceable Undertakings can be used to improve safety standards for Victorian workers,” Mr Neist said.
“Instead of a court potentially imposing a fine, a significant amount of money will now go directly towards research with practical applications for other construction workers.”
Mr Neist said both companies would collaborate with industry experts and WorkSafe to ensure their guidance and training material would meet industry standards.
“There is a gap in safety guidance material in relation to shotcrete walls and fall prevention in midrise developments, and the new material being prepared by Geotech and Hansen Yuncken will be of great benefit to the wider construction community,” he said.
“This is an excellent outcome for workplace safety.”
Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email email@example.com or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.