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‘The length of time it takes to put a SWMS together depends on how complex the job is. Most companies have a generic SWMS saved on their computer, which they adapt to suit different jobs. WorkSafe inspectors would expect to see a job specific SWMS. It’s much more than just a bit of paper.’ ‘I’ve heard some employers express frustration when they think it takes longer to complete the SWMS than it does to do the actual job. I think that’s small picture thinking. Completing a SWMS ensures that the job has been thought through properly and well planned. What’s a couple of minutes out of your day worth compared to the heartache of work mates, family and friends of someone who is killed or injured at work?’ ‘Workers should be consulted about the SWMS and encouraged to provide input. This ensures that the SWMS is job specific and the workers will have buy in and be more likely to adhere to it. I’ll always encourage a company that goes above and beyond with OHS. It’s commendable. We encourage consultation as much as possible.’ There is a document on the WorkSafe Victoria website that has a sample SWMS template. This can be found at: pdf_file/0012/211305/ISBN-Sampleswms-template-for-high-riskconstruction-work-2017-06.pdf


Construction Induction training

‘Another change to the OHS Regulations is the new requirement to establish emergency procedures if there is a risk of a person becoming engulfed by soils or other material. This obviously has big implications for most plumbers working in the industry. Master Plumbers OHS Officer Rod Tresidder has done a lot of work on this of late. The main concern is that people are usually inclined to jump in and save the person, but this can put themselves, others and the person who is engulfed at a higher risk.’

‘The Construction Induction Card’ which used to be known as the ‘Red Card’ is the basic OHS induction training for the construction industry. The Construction Induction Card is a prerequisite for all workers, including apprentices, working on Victorian construction sites. Other states and territories have different coloured cards and we accept them as long as they were issued by that state or territory.’

‘Problems are exacerbated in the heat of the moment, where common sense goes out the window. The first step is likely to involve contacting Emergency Services. It is crucial that the site address and incident location within the site is clearly accessible and known by all. If you’ve got it documented, it gives you more insight at a time of crisis. As it is a part of the new regulations, it is law, so it is something you need to carefully consider for any job where there is a risk.’

Industry education ‘Changing the culture of workplace safety is all about education. We are doing what we can to open up the discussion and make it natural to talk about safety. It’s important that young people can feel comfortable to raise a safety issue without being ridiculed. This is especially important to instil in young workers.’ ‘Young people need to know it’s OK to speak up about safety and act as soon as they think something isn’t right. I would advise all project managers and senior staff to make safety a key part of the daily conversations. Your entire workforce will benefit from it and it will pay dividends for all concerned.’


Australian Magazine December 2017  

For over 25 years, Australian Plumbing has been the industry’s leading publication, delivering independent coverage of news and events.

Australian Magazine December 2017  

For over 25 years, Australian Plumbing has been the industry’s leading publication, delivering independent coverage of news and events.