5.1 Construction

This part, 5.1 - Construction - sets dedicated minimum standards for the construction industry and is part of Chapter 5: Hazardous Industries of the regulations. It sets out specific OHS responsibilities for principal contractors, employers, workers and self-employed people.

The regulations include requirements for:

  • principal contractors to prepare health and safety co-ordination plans for construction projects costing $350,000 or more (Note: this document was developed for the 2007 Regulations - we expect WorkSafe will be updating this soon)
  • employers and self-employed people to prepare safe work method statements [Guide pdf] for high-risk construction work (see Safe Work Method Statement template - pdf)
  • employees to hold a OHS induction training (commonly referred to as 'Red Card training') before undertaking construction work, and
  • employees to be trained about site-specific risks and control measures before starting work on a construction site.

Information from WorkSafe

Note:  if construction work is part of your (or your employer's) business, even if not regarded as traditionally part of the construction industry, this part of the regulations may apply.  To assist employers, OHS Reps and workers, WorkSafe has produced a leaflet Is construction work part of your business? 

The regulations

Division 1: Introductory matters (320 - 324)

  • Application
  • What is construction work? This provides an explanation of what sort of work is covered under this chapter of the regulation and what sort of work is NOT covered. The regulation does not apply to the owner of domestic premises undertaking construction work at those premises.
  • What is high risk construction work? Lists particular work the regulation defines as being high risk, such as where there is a risk of a fall; work in tunnels, trenches, or other enclosed areas on roadways; working with explosives, chemicals, gas or electricity; etc
  • What is a structure? A structure is not just a building, but includes things such as towers, tunnels, shafts, roads, railways, ships, etc
  • What is a safe work method statement? A document identifying the work, stating the hazards and risks, the measures to overcome those risks, and is set out and expressed in a way that is readily accessible and comprehensible by those performing the work. This last requirement is a new one under the 2017 regulations.

Division 2: Control of risk

Subdivision 1 - Duties of employers and self-employed persons (SEPs) (325 - 331)

  • Control of risk - the employer/SEP must eliminate the risk, or if this is not reasonably practicable, control the risk according to the hierarchy of control
  • Review of risk control measures - when this is required to be done
  • Safe work method statement required for high risk construction work: requirement to prepare, review and revise it, and requirement to retain a copy of it. If the work is likely to involve the removal or disturbance of asbestos, then an asbestos control plan is taken to be the SWMS.
  • site-specific training 
  • emergency procedures - where there is a risk of a person becoming engulfed. This last requirement is a new one under the 2017 regulations.

Subdivision 2 - Duties of principal contractors (332 - 337)

  • this subdivision applies to construction projects with a cost of $350,000 or more
  • defines who the principal contractor is for a construction project
  • places requirement on principal contractor to: put up signage; prepare Health and safety co-ordination plans the content of which must be as per the regs, monitored, maintained and kept up to date, and available for inspection. 

Division 3: Induction training of construction work (338 - 353)

Apart from visitors and persons temporarily on site (eg to make a delivery), all persons at a workplace where construction work is performed must have received the construction induction training prior to commencing work. The employer must not allow a person to work on the site without a current construction induction card, but there are are certain temporary exemptions. Workers having completed the training receive a construction induction card ("Red Card") from the training provider, which must be a registered RTO. The construction induction card is of 'unlimited duration' - unless it lapses in the case of the holder not performing any construction work in a consecutive two year period, or if the Authority cancels the card. 

Division 4 - Notification of construction excavation work (354 - 355)

There is a specific requirement for an employer/SEP to notify the Victorian Workcover Authority of an intention to perform construction of certain excavation work three days prior to commencement of that work.

See Also:

  • The full text of the regulations can be viewed and downloaded from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website -  click on Victorian Law Today, then on Statutory Rules, and then on "O" to find the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. 
  • WorkSafe has produced a Guide to Construction [pdf]. 

Last amended August 2017