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 a worker in the industry, make sure you join. These are their websites:

  • CFMEU (Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union) - Construction and General Division.
  • CEPU - ETU (Electrical Trades Union - a division of the CEPU) - OHS and Safety Alerts.
  • AMWU (Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) covers maintenance workers. On the union's OHS webpage you will find Alerts, OHS news, the OHS Manual for OHS Reps, and more.
  • CEPU - Plumbers' Division - has OHS hazard alerts, fact sheets, information on courses on its OHS page (which can be accessed from its homepage).

2 - WorkSafe Victoria has an industry webpage on Construction and Utilities. Go to it for alerts, guidance material, checklists and other publications, information on their programs and much more.

In addition, WorkSafe has produced a number of relevant 'Injury Hotspots' such as hotspots for carpenters, concreters, electricians, labourers, plumbers and roofers. (note: this link may be broken)

There is also a page on 'Hazardous Manual Handling' - with information for construction.

3 - The Paintsafe website has been developed in cooperation between CFMEU and the Master Painters Association to provide practical advice to the painting industry relating to Occupation Health and Safety matters. Resources include FAQs, products tested and much more.

4 - Also worth a look is the Construction Industry page on WorkSafe WA website

5 - Victorian Building Authority Website useful website about building activity and building permits throughout Victoria.

6 - The Center to Protect Workers' Rights (CPWR website) is a union-backed US construction safety research and training group. It has recently relaunched its website. The new look site provides useful hazards alerts in English and Spanish and details of a quite extensive research programme.  The site complements a CPWR-maintained electronic library on construction health and safety, eLCOSH.

The Construction Chart Book  - published by the CPWR this provides information on all facets of the US construction industry, including health and safety issues. The coverage goes beyond that in previous editions, with additions including topics such as the total cost of injuries and illnesses to the construction industry, the use of health care services among construction workers, expanded reporting of blood lead levels in construction workers, chronic illnesses and health risks and respiratory diseases. The publication is a useful resource for construction unions anywhere, giving a well-structured and detailed overview of major issues facing site workers wherever you find them. The Construction Chart Book: The US construction industry and its workers, 5th edition, including chapters on Hazards and Exposures; Occupational Diseases, and more (all of which can be downloaded)

7 - The Construction page WorkSafe British Colombia (Canada) which has a collection of documentation and resources to assist in the formulation of safety programs. It has been created in response to a Canadian building boom partly related to some past Olympics activity, combined with the significant influx of an untrained or inexperienced workforce.

8 - Also from Canada, the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association of Ontario (IHSA), is a large site with many resources, including e-learning presentations, on a large range of topics. While the Canadian legislation has a different name, the employer duties are very similar.  

9 - The UK's Health and Safety Executive has a number of useful sites:

  • Construction the HSE has a new web site based tool to help contractors understand and manage occupational health risks more effectively. The tool is called the Construction Occupational Health Management Essentials (COHME ).

    According to the HSE, COHME is describes a
    framework to manage occupational health risks in general. COHME is intended to assist clients, designers and contractors and deals with 7 priority risks:
    • Hand-arm vibration;
    • Musculo-skeletal disorders;
    • Dermatitis;
    • Noise;
    • Stress;
    • Respiratory disease; and
    • Asbestos

    COHME contains examples, case studies and links to 3rd party websites. COHME also provides guidance on important matters like Safety-Critical Work, Health Surveillance and obtaining Expert Help.
  • Site Organisation - including guidance on Traffic management, Protecting the public, Materials storage and waste management, and more.
  • Concrete
  • Woodworking: Help and advice on the key risks in woodworking including; dust, machinery, and slips and trips.

Useful materials

From WorkSafe Victoria, a number of checklists for builders and building trades contractors (some of these are not currently available due to WorkSafe site update):

New guides

1 - Construction industry guides issued jointly by WorkSafe Victoria. Some of these are archived, but are still very useful. These are consistent with workplace safety regulations in the three eastern states.

There is much more up to date material on the Construction section of WorkSafe website

2 - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for Tower-frame Scaffolds  - to assist people by clarifying and explaining WorkSafe's position on these common questions.

3 - On dermatitis - check the Occupational Dermatology Research and Education Centre 

 4 - On nail guns:

5 - From WorkSafe New Zealand: A Guide to Safety with Chainsaws 

6 - A reader sent through an article he had written on choosing an appropriate chainsaw: Best Electric Chainsaw 2016. (Disclaimer: The article has some good points - we do not promote particular brands/types.)

7 - From NIOSH (US) Simple Solutions: Ergonomics for Construction Workers

Last amended May 2020