Construction and Utilities

The construction and utilities industry encompasses all work undertaken in building both commercial and domestic constructions, road and other infrastructure construction.  Workers include building workers, operators of licensed equipment, road workers, demolition workers, electricians, plumbers, and maintenance workers. Construction sites can be very small (eg a house) or very large (eg the construction of a multi-storey office complex or a major road project).  Many construction workplaces are multi-employer sites. Contractors make up a sizeable proportion of workers in this industry.

Workers in the construction industry face a myriad of hazards and construction sites can be amongst the most dangerous workplaces in Victoria.  Workers have died and have been seriously injured, and will continue to do so even though the accidents and incidents leading to this tragedy are preventable.  Common hazards include manual handling, machinery, falls from heights, hazardous substances, and electricity.
Unionised and organised construction workplaces have a better OHS record than un-unionised sites as these sites are far more likely to have well-trained and resourced elected OHS Reps, joint OHS Committees and support from the union.

WorkSafe has an industry webpage  on Construction and Utilities.  Go to it for alerts and other publications, information on their programs and much more. Safe Work Australia  has a Construction Industry profile with the latest stats and more information specific to the industry.    

Last updated May 2017

Forklift Safety
Forklifts are a serious hazard: each year approximately 400 people are injured by forklifts at Victorian workplaces - and since 1985, more than 55 Victorian...
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Amenities on construction sites
Too often the amenities provided on construction sites are appalling - and this is not good enough.  Under Section 21 of the OHS Act, the...
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Hard Hats - do they last for ever?
No they don't: hard hats, or safety helmets, must be replaced if damaged, no matter how new or old they are, and they also have...
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Compressed Air
Should compressed air be used for cleaning purposes? No. Using compressed air to clean objects, machinery, debris from bench tops or clothes is extremely dangerous. Injuries...
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Resuscitation Equipment
This is a 'Hazard Alert' issued by the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) Oxygen equipment The CFMEU has trained advanced first aiders in...
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Snakes on sites
After building sites have been vacant over holiday breaks and even 'long weekends' snakes may have found quiet shelter on your sites.  Hot weather also increases the boldness...
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New rules for safer construction work
From 1 July 2008, new regulations apply to all construction work in Victoria. The requirements reflect national standards and build on industry's existing safety practices...
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Construction & Utilities - useful information and websites
Construction safety online resources 1 - Victorian unions with coverage in the industry are the best source of OHS information and advice. If you are...
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Construction & Utilities - hazards
There are many hazards workers in the Construction and Utilities face every day.  Here is a list of some of the hazards we have information...
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Red Cards
The 'Red Card' - now known as the 'White Card' - is the basic OHS induction training for the construction industry. The White Card (or...
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Electrical Equipment - What are the laws/guidelines?
Under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) , the employer has a legal obligation to ensure that the workplace and the plant at...
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Other FAQs
To find out the answers to what amenities the workplace have, fire escapes, working alone, temperatures and more, go to the FAQ section of the...
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Legislation in Construction and Utilities
The Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act (2004) ('the Act') applies to all Victorian construction sites and most Victorian workplaces. The exception is that the Workplace...
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Are there standards for reflective gear?
Are there any specific requirements regarding high visibility reflective gear? Day/night must comply with Australian standards: AS/NZ 4602.1: 2011 High visibility safety garments - Garments...
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Personal Protective Equipment - PPE
 - when and how should this be used? There are times when it will be necessary to use personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect workers...
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