Corbell acts to increase building inspectors

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Simon Corbell.
THE number of workplace inspectors will be immediately increased following the release of the “Getting Home Safely” inquiry report into compliance with Work Health and Safety Requirements in the ACT’s Construction Industry.

Workplace minister Simon Corbell described the report as “sobering” and highlighting an unacceptable work safety record in the construction industry.

“It reveals an entrenched culture that sees safety as an administrative burden and financial cost rather than as a moral obligation and smart investment for long-term success,” he said.

Corbell released the report this morning with inquiry chairperson, Lynelle Briggs, and ACT WorkSafe Commissioner, Mark McCabe.

The report makes 28 recommendations, dealing with issues including training, workplace culture, procurement, industry leadership, enforcement and regulation.

Corbell committed the Government to providing a detailed response to each recommendation of the inquiry by the end of February, but in the interim, would  take action on some of the report’s findings and recommendations.

“First and foremost the Government agrees to increasing the number of inspectors in the Worksafe ACT Inspectorate ( recommendations 20 and 21) to enforce work health and safety laws on worksites as part of the development of the 2013-14 ACT Budget.”

The Government has also decided to adopt the recommendations:

  • To establish a target of a 35 per cent  improvement in the serious injury claim rate;
  • To increase the number of work health and safety matters for which infringement notices (on the spot fines) can be issued to employees and employers,
  • including sub-contractors;
  • To appoint an Industrial Magistrates Court;
  • To implement better co-ordination of ACT Planning and Land Authority building inspectors and WorkSafe inspectors in the field to target specific concerns on
  • worksites and to link their enforcement and demerit point systems;
  • To implement, by June 2013, the ‘active certification’ approach into government procurement and establish comparative assessment of contractor’s safety
  • records when competing for government projects;
  •  To work with other jurisdictions to establish a national registration scheme for engineers as soon as practicable, and to require engineers engaged on ACT Government projects to demonstrate their current registration on the Professional Engineers Register wherever applicable.

‘It is crucial, now we have this report, that we bring all relevant parties together, to get industry, union and government agreement on how to implement the inquiry’s recommendations and a strong commitment to build a safer workplace,” Corbell said.

“This is in recognition that the onus is on industry and workers, unions, industry groups, professional associations and the Government to work collaboratively to build a genuine and effective safety culture in the ACT.”

 

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Ian Meikle
Ian Meikle is the owner and editor of "CityNews".

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