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Health and Safety has to be paramount: Construction Training Fund

Construction Training Fund (CTF) discusses the importance of occupational health and safety in construction.

Training in health and safety can ensure employers know their obligations and how to support and protect their workforce

CTF is a Statutory Authority that collects a 0.2 per cent training levy on all building and construction projects in Western Australia that have an estimated value greater than $20,000.

CTF then returns revenue from the levy to the industry via programs, grants and training subsidies. These initiatives help reduce the cost of employing apprentices and trainees and offset the cost of upskilling the existing workforce.

Australia relies on the construction industry for many reasons. 1.18 million people are employed in the Australian construction industry, with an estimated growth to 1.28 million by 2024.

Being such an important industry that employs so may workers means that health and safety has to be paramount. Taking care of the health and safety of our construction workers wouldn’t be possible without the knowledge and practice of occupational health and safety (OHS).

Health and safety should be thought about before, and monitored throughout, an entire project.

Why? Because missing the mark on health and safety can lead to avoidable added expenses, loss of productive time, injury or, in the worst-case scenario, even death.

Knowledge and practice of proper OHS measures on all construction sites is a necessity. Plus, doing so can benefit you and your business to achieve the following:

Remain compliant – adhering to occupational health and safety on site doesn’t just allow peace of mind, it’s also a legal requirement. You can avoid fines and penalties by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by establishing and implementing a proactive approach to workplace health and safety.

Respond quickly to incidents – workplace incidents and accidents can happen unexpectedly. By having processes in place beforehand, plus readily available working safety equipment, workers and management can respond quickly, to limit damage and/or injury.

Safe environment and reputation – everybody deserves to feel mentally and physically safe at work. Creating and maintaining a safe environment can limit incidents, lessen expenses and safeguard company reputation.

WA construction workers, from sole traders and employees to mid-level career employees, can take advantage of incentives from CTF such as claiming back course fees. If you complete an OHS course by a credited Registered Training Organisation (RTO) in WA, you  may be eligible to receive a subsidy from CTF.

A safe work method statement should be prepared for all high-risk projects

Common risks

There are many site-specific risks on a construction site, the most common ones being:

  • Heavy lifting – with the require-ment to handle heavy and some-times awkwardly-sized objects.

•           Hand tools and powerful machinery usage – including, but not limited to, power tools, saws, shovels and crowbars.

•           Slips, trips and falls – such as slipping on wet surfaces, tripping over uneven ground or falling from a ladder.

•           Noise pollution from equipment – like concrete cutters, drills and saws.

•           Environmental contaminants – think asbestos, dust and synthetic mineral fibres.

Most of the above worker hazards occur due to inadequate training, lack of supervision, working alone, trying to impress co-workers or the boss, and/or workers being uninformed of their rights of working in a safe environment.

You can mitigate these risks by ensuring you staff complete regular and up-to-date occupational health and safety training from an RTO.

Site safety tips 

For further prevention, take a look at CTF’s helpful site safety tips:

•           ensure all workers on a building or construction site are provided with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), related to the work undertaken

•           utilise clear and sufficient signage throughout the site

•           have a dedicated first aid officer per 25 workers and a first aid kit in an accessible area

•           secure heavy items

•           minimise and manage risk, always

•           do not commence work until a safe work method statement

(SWMS) is prepared for all high- risk construction projects.

OSH short courses 

There are three benefits to  completing occupational health  and safety courses.

The first is you can attend an assigned worksite knowing you have the knowledge and skills to support health and safety, not only for yourself, but to manage and safeguard others, too.

Second is having the confidence of compliance, doing the right thing by your employees and building/reinforcing safe, quality work practices. The third benefit is priceless peace of mind.

CTF offers short-course training rebates for people working in our industry. If you’re working in the WA construction industry and successfully complete an approved short course through a WA RTO, you could be eligible for a rebate of up to 80 per cent of the course cost.

Please remember that CTF rebates are only paid for approved courses offered by registered training providers. Other eligibility requirements apply, please refer to the CTF guidelines for more information. You can claim a rebate for as many approved, completed courses as you like.

CTF exists to create a highly skilled and sustainable workforce within the Western Australian building and construction industry. This is done by collecting a training levy and using this to reduce the cost of training a diverse, job-ready workforce.

It is a big believer in supporting the education of the next generation and providing exciting and innovative roles and opportunities in this crucial, rapidly growing industry. So, if you complete an OSH course by a credited RTO, you may be eligible to receive a subsidy from CTF.

For more information on what CTF can offer, visit ctf.wa.gov.au

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