Safety has always been a challenge on construction sites due to the nature of the work; there’s a lot of heavy lifting, working at great heights and using potentially dangerous tools on a day-to-day basis. In fact according to Safe Work Australia, 13% of total serious compensation claims were made by workers within the construction industry while in 2018, the industry had the highest number of workplace fatalities. These statistics demonstrate how important safety is within a construction site and why investing in Health, Safety, Environment and Quality (HSEQ) is integral to not only the site’s overall productivity but the wellbeing of all workers.
This year COVID-19 and the significant changes it’s caused to the working landscape has meant the responsibilities of Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) have doubled. Unlike other industries that can easily transfer their systems and processes online and work consistently from home, there’s a big portion of the construction industry that are required to be onsite for buildings and major projects to be completed. This has posed a significant challenge, especially when strict physical distancing restrictions were put in place.
Unlike an office, there are also many potential covid-related risks that are unique to a construction site including the use of shared tools or equipment, travelling in personnel hoists or lifts and work which requires employees to be in close contact with others. Consequently, HSRs have had to develop strategies to either eliminate or minimise these risks without severely impacting on the worksite’s productivity, as the industry is still an important player in rebuilding Australia’s economy. Other worksites, particularly in Victoria where COVID restrictions have been most severe, have had to temporarily stop construction work in order to maintain the safety of their workers.
Health experts and government officials have advised for construction sites to follow additional safety measures during this time including:
There’s a lot to consider and ultimately how HSRs should implement these measures will depend on the needs and operations of each construction site. To help navigate this process, Design & Build caught up with HSEQ Manager Sorcha Brennan who has extensive experience in workplace health and safety and now works at Roberts Pizzarotti. She discusses the challenges COVID-19 presents and her recommendations for keeping workers safe onsite:
Social distancing on construction sites aims to minimise the spread of COVID-19. What’s the best practise for construction workers to follow this protocol?
There are a number of practices that can be implemented on construction sites to support social distancing. Some of these practices include:
Construction work inevitably requires regular touching of objects and surfaces. This means that usual cleaning schedules on construction sites will need to be increased. What’s your advice for increasing construction site hygiene levels?
My advice would be to minimise touch points (e.g. keep doors open) and obviously increase cleaning frequency. Provide ample soap, hand sanitiser and paper towel across the site and provide alcohol or detergent wipes for personnel to wipe down plant, machinery, and equipment touch points. As well as providing P2 masks for all workers.
It’s important that workers are kept well informed during these tough times, what topics should be covered daily in toolbox talks and can you recommend any resources for HSE Managers/ Site Managers to acquire?
Toolbox talks should cover the facts in relation to COVID-19, explain what protective measures around large group hygiene have been implemented and also discuss where personnel can find further support within the organisation if they are anxious or worried. As a health & safety professional, it is important to refer to the Australian & NZ Government websites for accurate information and updates on COVID-19. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is also a valuable source of information. (Please see links at the bottom of this page)
What are some issues facing health & safety professionals during these times?
Media coverage can sometimes create unnecessary anxiety in situations like these and I have no doubt that there will be health and safety professionals amongst many others on construction sites who are providing support to many people while still doing their usual day to day role. Being in an essential industry is challenging in itself as you have to keep going in times when things are so uncertain.
What advice would you give to health & safety professionals who are struggling with the pressure of the current climate?
Keep moving forward and remember we are one industry, lean on your support networks if you need them. We will come out the other end.
Increasing Demand for Health and Safety Representatives
The construction industry is one of the pillars of the Australian economy, and as evidenced in the 2020 Federal Budget announced this week, it will play a significant role in stimulating the Australian economy over the next year. The Government have already announced they will be investing $14 billion in new and fast-tracked infrastructure projects, including bringing forward $7.5 billion of spending on road and rail projects, a new $2 billion investment in road safety upgrades and $1 billion for local councils to upgrade roads, footpaths and street lighting. They have also created a $688 million HomeBuilder scheme, which gives cash grants for people to renovate or build new homes.
These initiatives aim to invigorate building across the country however, with no immediate cure to COVID in sight, for construction sites to continue running, they require quality HSRs to ensure workers are kept safe. Not just in regards to the standard occupational risks on a worksite but also in regards to maintaining COVID-19 safe practices. Even before the pandemic, Work Place Health and Safety was considered a highly in-demand field. According to the Australian Government's joboutlook.gov.au, 36,000 professionals were predicted to be employed in Australia by 2022. Of course, COVID-19 has altered employment predictions across the board, but with safety precautions and compliance now playing such an integral role in business operations, the demand for HSRs within the construction industry is only expected to grow.
HEALTH AND SAFETY JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Contract Type: Permanent
Salary Package: $170-200k
Job Description: The successful applicant would be working for a leading Australian owned construction company with over 20 years of experience who’ve built a solid reputation for delivering successful, & award winning projects. As a business they are committed to ensuring they meet the highest standards of safety across all sites and are looking for a HSEQ Manager to help drive this commitment.
Contract Type: Permanent
Salary Package: $85-$95k
Job Description: Work for a leading residential home builder with over 20 years of experience across NSW. Having developed an outstanding reputation for building beautiful homes and long standing relationships, they are ranked as one of NSW's top home builders. They are looking to hire an experienced WHS coordinator to oversee the construction of roughly 20 residential homes across the Northwest and Western Suburbs, you will be working in a site based role and reporting into the construction manager.
To find out more about the roles listed above, or to reach out for a confidential chat about the job market and upcoming health and safety opportunities within residential and commercial construction, you can contact us here: email@example.com
For more advice on ensuring the safety of employees while on construction sites, visit Safe Work Australia. They have created some dedicated resources for workers during COVID-19, as part of Safe Work month this October.
Join a leading privately owned Electrical Contractor based in Sydney. Operating across NSW, they partner with some of Australia's leading commercial construction companies to provide a range of integrated building services with a focus on electrical. The Role Manage safety through leading by example on site Work closely with site team to ensure compliance is met Risk assessment & identification, ensuring regulations are met OHS task observation, toolbox talks, site walks Build & maintain relationships with stakeholders Ensure safety documentation is up to date Your requirements Minimum Cert IV in WHS A Electrical trade background is essential 2+ years of experience in a HSE role within construction or engineering Have a good understanding of current legislation, regulations & building codes Be articulate, well presented and a clear communicator For any questions relating to this role or any other opportunities with D&B and our clients please contact Adam Shaw on 02 9376 8200 or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential
A nationally recognized Tier 2 commercial construction company with a long-standing history are now looking to add an experienced Senior Estimator to the business, to work on a multitude of tenders up to $300m. Due to continued success over a number of years a permanent Senior Estimator is now required to help drive the business forward, working closely with the Head of Estimating and joining a well established pre-construction team. Your duties will include: Preparation of initial estimating assessment of tenders Perform trade break ups of documentation, appropriate trade subcontractor selection lists, and liaise with subcontractors to ensure they have a full understanding of the required scope of works and programme Final preparation and presentation of rated and coded Bill of Quantities and/or cost plan for internal review and issuing appropriate information to stakeholders Comparison and analysis of subcontractor pricing Regular meetings with subcontractors throughout the tender period to ensure the most competitive pricing and accurate bids Required experience; Demonstrated analytical abilities Proven experience Estimating on commercial & residential new build jobs from $50m-$300M Buildsoft competent is favoured Proactive problem solver but also able to ask for help where needed Ambition to commit long term to the business and assist in their long term growth Excellent time management skills Strong attention to detail Excellent communication skills For any questions relating to this role or other opportunities with D&B and our clients please contact Adam Shaw on (02) 9376 8200 or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential.
Contracts Administrator required for a $200M commercial project. Great opportunity for you to gain exposure to a leading Tier 2 Builder whose name is renowned in the industry for being one of the best. Our client is one of Australia's leading construction companies with a diverse portfolio of commercial, industrial, institutional and government projects up to $350M, and a strong pipeline of upcoming work over the coming years. Roles and Responsibilities of the Contracts Administrator will include: Preparation of subcontractor packages, scopes, lettings, procurement schedules Progress claim assistance and external variations Review, negotiation and finalization of subcontracts Management and tracking of project expenditure, inclusive of subcontractor claim Administration of RFIs to clients, architects and consultants Administration of the project HSE system To be considered for the role of Contracts Administrator you will require: Degree qualified in construction management or equivalent Previous experience working for a head contractor Exposure to commercial projects $50M+ with strong experience in structures and services Knowledge of Sydney construction market and subcontractors Strong attention for detail and proven communication skills For any questions relating to this role or other opportunities with D&B and our clients please contact Adam Shaw on 029376 8200 or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential.
The Company Work for a leading privately owned fit-out and refurbishment company with over 20 years of experience, and a nationally recognized brand. With a portfolio of clients ranging from top ranking universities to high profile commercial businesses they are renowned for delivering exceptional projects. The Role Work on a variety of commercial fit out and refurbishment projects up to $10M Ensuring all sites are compliant with current HSE regulations Conducting regular site audits Mentoring site teams and providing relevant advice Learn from some of the best in the industry with regular training Relevant Experience 1-3 years of experience in Health & Safety role Similar experience working on commercial construction projects Cert IV in Work Health & Safety is an advantage Be computer literate with experience on Microsoft office Good time management and organisational skills If you feel your experience matches the specification please contact Adam Shaw on 029376 8200 or click apply. Please note only short listed candidates will be contacted and your application will be treated as strictly confidential
Join a leading Mechanical Services Contractor based in Sydney. Operating nationally, they partner with some of Australia's leading construction companies to provide innovative and efficient mechanical and electrical systems on major construction projects. The Role Manage safety through leading by example on site Work closely with site teams to ensure compliance is met Risk assessment & identification, ensuring regulations are met Carry out health and safety audits and work place inspections Investigate and report on any incidents Build & maintain relationships with stakeholders Ensure safety documentation is up to date Your requirements Minimum Cert IV in WHS 5+ years of experience in a HSE role within civil, engineering or construction Previous experience working on major construction, infrastructure, oil & gas or energy projects is highly desirable Have a good understanding of current legislation, regulations & building codes Be articulate, well presented and a clear communicator For any questions relating to this role or any other opportunities with D&B and our clients please contact Adam Shaw on 02 9376 8200 or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential
Leading Australian owned construction company with over 20 years of experience. With the bulk of their work coming from repeat business they've built a solid reputation for for delivering successful, & award winning projects. As a business they are committed to ensuring they meet the highest standards of safety across all sites and are looking for a HSEQ Manager to help drive this commitment. The Role: Time will be split 50/50 between site and office Maintain and update the Safety Management Systems Ensure WHS processes are carried out effectively across all projects Provide support, advise and training to site teams Ensure safety documentation are up to date Risk identification & assessment, ensuring regulations are met Carry out health and safety audits and work place inspections Desired Experience: Minimum Cert IV in WHS 5+ years of WHS experience within construction Experience working on Commercial and Industrial Buildings is essential Experience working to OFSC & AS/NZS 4801 Strong understanding of latest OH&S legislation Excellent communication & problem solving skills For any questions relating to this role or any other opportunities with D&B and our clients please contact Adam Shaw on 02 9376 8200 or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential
Our client specializes in residential and commercial building maintenance and repairs following insurable events. With an increase in workload, they have an immediate need for a Site Manager with experience working on commercial construction projects. You will be working on site Monday - Friday working closely with the PM on multi-million dollar commercial construction project. Requirements: A background in commercial construction is essential Previous experience working with structures is an advantage Be very process driven and highly motivated Well presented, this is a client facing role Be approachable & able to communicate effectively at all levels Take a methodical approach to building, they often take on challenging project around a live environment For any questions relating to this role or any other opportunities with D&B and our clients please contact Adam Shaw on 02 9376 8200 or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential