Construction employers are once again being urged to address mental health among workers following a revelation that construction workers are twice as likely to commit suicide than other members of the population.
According to Mates in Construction research, 190 construction workers take their own lives annually in Australia and employers need to manage mental health issues to combat this problem.
Another study by Deakin University revealed potential risk factors behind construction worker suicides, including debt related stress, pressure at work and personal stresses including family breakdown, legal issues or substance abuse. They also found that the masculine nature of the field and the stigma attached to mental health, influenced people to keep their problems to themselves instead of seeking help.
Employers can help by offering programs to assist workers and increasing dialogue around the issue.
The home renovations sector can expect a significant boost in activity over the next three years as homes built during the 1980s boom are renovated and upgraded.
The sector is poised for an almost 3 billion dollar increase over the next 3 years, according to the Housing Industry Association (HIA). It expects the renovations sector to grow from an estimated $32.228 billion in the 2016/17 period to $35.120 billion in 2019/20.
The HIA believes there is a strong connection between the volume of renovation work and the age of the housing stock in Australia. They say the more houses over 30 years of age, the higher the demand for home renovations and improvements.
Queensland companies should be mindful of tough new industrial manslaughter laws which recently passed in parliament to protect workers in the state.
Under the law, negligent employers face severe penalties for workplace fatalities including 20 years imprisonment and corporate offenders are liable for fines of up to $10 million.
One company that is facing the tough new punishments is a waste recycling facility in Yatala.
The company and its director face charges over the incident that led to the death of a worker in November 2015.
The director is facing a category 1 offence involving reckless conduct which could see him receive a maximum 5 year prison term or a fine of $600,000. The company is facing possible fines of up to $3 million.
As we look forward to closing for Christmas, let’s ensure we don’t let our guard down when it comes to safety on the work site, as this time of the year is known for a spike in workplace injuries.
WorkCover Queensland is urging all employers to ensure the safety of their workers in the lead-up to the year-end holidays.
Barbara Martin, WorkCover Queensland Executive – Priority Industries, said injury claims tend to rise around this time of year because people rush to get jobs done before Christmas and after a busy year, most people are worn out which leads to loss in concentration.
She also advised employers hiring temporary workers to cover for employees taking leave to ensure they receive the necessary safety inductions and training. Workers in the construction fields must have a valid White Card.
The Tradie Price Index, a list compiled by ServiceSeeking.com.au which ranks tradies pay in Australia indicates that the boom in residential construction on Australia’s east coast has led to the hourly rates of tradies soaring.
In fact some tradies saw a rise of 65 per cent in their hourly rates. Here’s more from the index,
Victorian plumbers are the most expensive tradies in Australia, demanding an hourly average rate of $91.21. This is a rise of 21 per cent from last year.
Plumbers and electricians in Western Australia are the second and third highest paid, with hourly rates of $89.91 and 89.58 respectively.
Electricians and builders in South Australia experienced double digit increases year on year in their hourly rates.
The demand has soared in Brisbane where tilers are demanding 65 per cent than last year – $62.18 per hour.
WorkSafe ACT recently conducted an audit of scaffolding on Canberra construction sites and discovered an number of serious non-compliance issues.
A lack of protection from potentially deadly falls was just one of the issues uncovered as well as the revelation that only one out of five scaffolds on commercial sites were fully compliant with access opening requirements.
Inspectors also found that half of the 21 residential sites inspected had issues with scaffold design including construction on uneven ground and stairs improperly installed.
Three prohibition notices were issued, meaning work had to be stopped until the issues were fixed. The notices were all issued to residential construction sites.