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Construction News Blog - Page 1

Building Contractor Fined over Fatality

A $405,000 fine has been issued to a Bankstown building contractor by a Sydney District Court after it was revealed that the contractor failed to protect the health and safety of a worker who fell and lost his life.

The 19 year old worker was building a walkway platform unsupervised when he fell onto the concrete floor below where he was later discovered with serious head injuries.

The teenage apprentice was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery. He was placed on a life-support machine which was later turned off, less than a week later.

The court heard that despite the worker being an inexperienced, second-year apprentice, the contractor had required him to undertake the high risk work, without the adequate supervision.  Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/bankstown-builder-fined-workplace-death/#.WsJP8pclE1k

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Study Reveals Most Australians Don’t Know Why They Need Sun Safety

Source: Pixabay.com

Most construction workers are spending the majority of their time outdoors which is why sun protection is such a crucial issue to our industry.

In light of the amount of time we spend outdoors, the recent revelation that most Australians are confused about which weather factors cause heartburn is concerning.

The data released by Cancer Council shows that 40 per cent of Australians don’t understand that sun protection is needed when UV levels are 3 or above. Most people look at the temperature, humidity and clouds and determine whether they need to apply sunblock, wear sun protective clothing and seek shade instead of considering the UV levels.

In Autumn it’s important to understand that while temperatures may drop, UV levels are still high enough to cause serious sunburn and skin damage, which can increase your chances of skin cancer.

Find out more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/9-10-australians-not-know-need-sun-protection-study-reveals/#.WtTKjZclE1l

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Two Killed in Trench Collapse

Following an ordeal more than 2 hours a long, a worker on a Ballarat construction site was eventually freed using an excavator, after he was buried by dirt in a trench collapse.

The young man, 20 years of age, was working alongside a colleague who died on the scene of the collapse.

The 2 men were discovered by co-workers after the more than six metre long trench collapsed at the Melbourne site, burying both workers about waist-deep.

The 20 year old worker was flown to Royal Melbourne Hospital with serious injuries where he was placed in an induced coma. He underwent 4 emergency surgeries but unfortunately did not survive, he died a few days later.

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Brisbane Construction Worker Injured When Retaining Wall Fell

A 21 year old worker was recently injured on a Brisbane construction site while working on  a retaining wall. The worker fell down an embankment at the site on Wentworth Parade in Balmoral.

Roads surrounding the construction site were closed to traffic and inspectors and investigators from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland were called to the scene.

This year has seen a startling number of construction incidents leading to injury occur which is why we need to focus more on safety and less on productivity over the remaining months of the year.

See more at http://www.watoday.com.au/queensland/worker-seriously-injured-at-brisbane-construction-site-school-pick-up-impacted-20180227-p4z1zm.html

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Man Impaled on Fence Due to Ladder Fall

A worker in the Fraser Coast suffered a gruesome injury after falling from a ladder at a property in Maryborough.

The man was impaled on a fence after falling from the ladder with emergency crews having to be called in to free the injured man.

In addition to firefighters who attended to the man on the scene, he was also treated by ambulance paramedics before being transported to hospital with serious injuries.

Although we often think of ladder use as simple and easy, this incident proves how dangerous improper use of ladders can be.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/man-impaled-fence-ladder-fall-wide-bay-burnett-region/#.Wq_cV5clE1k

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Alert Issued about Power Line Safety

Source: Pixabay.com

WorkSafe Victoria has issued a reminder to everyone operating heavy vehicles and machinery to check for power lines, following a number of serious incidents that occurred over the past few months.

Last month there were 2 incidents that occurred, one involving a tip truck that came into contact with overhead power lines at a farm, damaging the truck and a second incident resulted in a truck driver being electrocuted.

In the construction industry, there were 7 serious incidents involving overhead power lines in the state since mid-November.

WorkSafe Health and Safety reminded businesses to ensure their workers aren’t put at risk from power lines when carrying out tasks.

Find out more http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/check-powerlines-operating-heavy-vehicles-machinery/#.WsCr75clE1k

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BeyondBlue Investigates Suicide Signals

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We’ve already learned that construction workers are particularly at risk to suicide which is why it’s important to know how to identify the signs of suicide in someone and know how to respond.

Recent research from beyondblue found that few people express their suicidal thoughts to others directly, but they do show signs through changes in their behaviour.

Family members, work colleagues and friends who want to help people thinking about suicide can take simple steps to identify suicidal thoughts and support someone who may be at risk.

Beyondblue recommends the following,

  • Asking the person how they are feeling and explain changes you have noticed in their behaviour

  • Listening without judgement and without trying to advise them how to ‘fix’ their situation;

  • Asking direct questions about whether the person is thinking of suicide and has a plan;

  • Showing support and suggesting they seek help from GP or a mental health professional

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/new-beyondblue-research-tackles-signs-suicide/#.Wr9CcJclE1k

As Beyondblue CEO Georgie Harman points out, you don’t need to be an expert to identify suicide risks and help someone. Harman says there are simple things we can all do and say to reduce suicide in our community,


“It’s natural for family, friends, and workmates to worry about saying or doing the right thing if someone is feeling suicidal.

“But people who have thought about suicide told us through the research that having someone listen to them and show care and support was the most important thing to them – and you don’t need to be a health professional to do that.

“And you can’t put the idea of suicide in somebody’s mind – the research supports that.

“Asking how someone is feeling and asking directly about suicide could be the first step to help someone reconnect with living, and get them the support they need.”

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/new-beyondblue-research-tackles-signs-suicide/#.Wr9CcJclE1k

Ms Harman goes on to explain that people considering suicide will usually behave differently, although they will seldom discuss their suicidal thoughts openly.  She said they will act and talk about life in a way that raises alarm bells, reflecting that they have no hope for life. She highlighted the importance of taking these suicide indicators seriously.

“It’s important that we and our sector colleagues use this research and continue to work with the community to ensure people have access to information, training, and support so they can act with confidence,” she said.

See more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/new-beyondblue-research-tackles-signs-suicide/#.Wr9CcJclE1k

As we’ve already learned, stressful work conditions are a major risk factor for mental health problems and suicide which explains why concern is high for construction workers. Statistics have proven that construction workers are more likely to die from suicide than people from other industries, probably given the high risk nature of the work, deadline pressures, coupled with other personal issues such as alcoholism, relationship issues and so play a role in people falling into depression.

For more on this topic visit beyondblue.

Source: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/03/new-beyondblue-research-tackles-signs-suicide/#.Wr9CcJclE1k

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Florida Bridge Collapse Prompts Probe Into Time Saving Construction Method

A bridge being constructed in Florida, using a technique called Accelerated Bridge Construction has collapsed, killing at least 6 people and injuring at least 9.

The construction technique was developed after experts realised America’s bridges were disintegrating and more bridges needed to be constructed, quick.

The method of Accelerated Bridge Construction involves building the bridge off-site and then transporting it to the site where it is put into place. This method ultimately results in less disruption but there are now fears that it may have had something to do with the Florida collapse. A probe into the collapse will reveal more.

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2018 Construction Outlook Good So Far

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There’s good news for the construction sector, activity in the sector is booming in 2018 and February experienced an even greater and faster improvement in activity than January.

According to the Australia Industry Group’s (Ai Group) Performance of Construction Index (PCI) the construction industry activity rose 1.7 points in February to 56.0, a 3 month high.

In fact activity in the sector has been improving every month for the past 13 months.

Any levels above 50 points indicates the industry is expanding. The distance away from 50 indicates how fast activity levels are expanding or contracting.

See more at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australia-construction-boom-2018-2018-3

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Inquest Begins into Scissor-lift Death on Construction Site

The inquest into the 2014 death of construction worker Jorge Castillo-Riffo has begun and so far it appears corners may have been cut and safety compromised on the site of the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Mr Castillo-Riffo died in November 2014 due to an incident while on a scissor lift at the CBD Site.

During the inquest it was revealed that pressure to have construction completed on time may have contributed to the incident when Mr Castillo-Riffo was crushed.

Mr Castillo-Riffo had told his co-workers that he didn’t like working on the scissor lift and that he was “very nervous” about using it in a confined space.  See more at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-19/scissor-lift-death-new-rah-inquest/9562632

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