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When it comes to construction sites, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone on-site is the top priority. It’s more than just wearing hard hats and high-vis vests. It involves careful planning and preparation of the specific needs, hazards and risks of each project. That’s where Site-Specific Safety Plans (SSSPs) come into play.

A SSSP sets out the arrangements on how certain health and safety matters are managed on-site. A SSSP is designed to keep everyone informed on site specific details. It includes:

When do I need a SSSP?

All construction projects need a SSSP. A construction project is when the cost of your job reaches a certain value and it is the Principal Contractor’s responsibility to have a SSSP in  place before the project begins.

Setting up health and safety with HazardCo Projects is quick and simple. All you need to do is log in to the HazardCo Hub and “create a Project”. You receive the completed SSSP straight away while the physical scan-in board will be sent out for you to display on-site.

Not only does HazardCo’s Project save you time at the start of your project, it saves time for everyone on the site. Once the project starts, everyone entering the site inducts themselves on-site using the QR code on the site scan-in board, and the QR scanner in the free HazardCo App. That’s right, everyone inducts themselves using their smartphone, no lengthy induction meetings or paperwork required, and you get a record of every completed induction too.

It’s important to get everyone on board – including your subbies

Make sure you request a SWMS from each of your contractors so you can check they have included all the relevant hazards and controls in your SSSP. This will help ensure you and others on site are well informed of all the hazards from start to end of the project.

Share the SSSP with the team. Anyone scanning into the site using your QR code and the HazardCo App will have immediate access. Every worker who sets foot on-site needs to know and understand the SSSP. This can be done during the site induction, where the workers learn about the project, potential hazards, and safety protocols, which they can do using the App. If you need more information on working with contractors you can check out this blog.

Why go digital?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to creating a SSSP, using digital tools like HazardCo can offer great time saving and streamlining benefits. Among many other benefits of using HazardCo, using it for SSSP means that you have:

Going digital with the HazardCo App means information flows more efficiently and this allows your teams to better collaborate with one another.

So, whether you’re building a multi-dwelling residential, a new build or doing a big reno, remember: safety first, always. And with a solid SSSP in place, you’re one step closer to a successful and safe construction project.

For health and safety sorted in a flash, right from the very start of your new build, look no further than HazardCo Projects. It’s the smart way to maintain a safe site and have more time to focus on the job at hand.

If you would like to discuss your upcoming project please give our team a call on 1800 954 702.

 

Long gone are the days of “she’ll be right mate”. Staying on top of your health and safety makes your site safer – simple as that. We all want our team members to get home safely at the end of the day, and now there are smart systems to help you to get the job done there and then, without fuss or delay.

HazardCo was created with this in mind – because it’s all online, you make updates in real-time from anywhere on-site, all from the palm of your hand. The HazardCo App allows you to complete a SWMS, site review, toolbox meeting or incident report, all on your smartphone – so it’s done straight away. No delays, no forgetting details, you can even take photos so you capture everything you need to. Taking a smart approach to your workplace health and safety and staying on top of updates, can be a real weight off the shoulders.

The HazardCo App is free for everyone to complete their initial site induction, and to scan in/out of site every day. Because they’re on the App whenever they walk on to site, health and safety is kept top of mind – a key part of creating a safer site. An added bonus, If one of your crew or subbies were to sign up and become a HazardCo member, you can also get a copy of all of their on-site safety activity, giving you the complete picture. When you have a safer site, everyone can keep working at full speed, and your project isn’t slowed down by injuries hampering your team or the wider crew. It’s a complete win-win.

Do the right thing by your people and prioritise health and safety on-site. HazardCo is all about making health and safety quick and easy, without cutting any corners – helping you to protect your people and your business for the longer term.

The reality is unsafe work at heights can have devastating consequences. Falls from heights are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries in the construction industry within Australia. Preventing falls should be actively managed so that people working at heights are kept safe.

 

Plan Ahead: Before you start a job, figure out what could go wrong

Identifying a task that could lead to a fall is the first step to keeping people safe.   Before commencing, put in place the highest level of protection possible to prevent falls.

Consider how long the job will take: The duration of the job will impact how you select the level of protection. If the job is ongoing, the structures chosen need to remain stable throughout the job. You may need to reassess things like ladders and scaffolds throughout the job.

Use hierarchy of controls to prevent falls  

The hierarchy of controls outlines the various controls in order from the highest level of protection to the lowest level of protection. Select the safest, most appropriate control measure from the below hierarchy to prevent injuries or fatalities from falls from heights on your site.

Work on the ground or solid construction

If you can avoid working at height it should be your first option and is always the safest option. Some examples of eliminating the fall risk include using long-handled tools, relocating the task to the ground, and using extension poles for tools.

Use fall-prevention measures

If working from a height is necessary, you need to manage the risk of a fall. Fall prevention measures could be something like an elevated work platform, scaffolding, or guard railing.

Use a work positioning system

Check if a work positioning system like a travel restraint system can be used. A travel restraint system enables a person to work in a way that prevents the person from falling e.g. fixed-length lanyards and static line systems 

Use a fall arrest system 

Check if a fall arrest system like an industrial safety net, a catch platform or safety harness can be used. This system doesn’t prevent the fall but arrests the fall so you don’t come into contact with the ground e.g. shock absorber on lanyard or anchor point. 

Ladder use

It may be appropriate to use a ladder. Ladders do not provide fall protection and as such should only be looked at as a last option when selecting the level of protection.  Ladders should only be used for short duration works such as changing a light bulb or paint touch-ups.

Below is a great image from WorkSafe Victoria which has summarised the hierarchy of control measures for the prevention of falls. Click on the image below to view

Important: Where high-risk construction work includes a risk of a person falling more than 2 metres (3 metres in South Australia), a safe work method statement (SWMS) must be developed prior to work commencing. 

 

Need more information?

Seek professional assistance

Working at height can often be high risk and there are experts  who make it their job to complete this work safely. It is often safer and more cost-effective to use height specialists even for shorter jobs. 

Make sure everyone knows what to do

Give your workers all the info they need to stay safe.. Conduct toolbox talks and remind them  the importance of procedures and completing a SWMS (when required). Encourage them to watch out for each other and speak up if something doesn’t seem right. 

Consistency is key

It’s important you and your team are actively involved in ensuring any heights related work is carried out in the safest way possible. 

Resources 

There are various WorkSafe / SafeWork websites, resources, and support tools on managing the risk of falls. Some examples include:

 

Need Help?

If you’ve got a question about working at height or any other health and safety matter, the HazardCo Advisory Team is here to help. Give them a call on 1800 954 702.

Running a safe site isn’t just about wearing hard hats and harnesses; it’s about effective communication and staying aware of what’s going on on-site. One of the most powerful tools is the humble toolbox meeting. These gatherings are the backbone of ensuring everyone on site is up to speed with hazards and safe working practices.

Download the Simple Guide to toolbox meetings to get tonnes of ideas for toolbox meeting topics.

Why toolbox meetings matter

Toolbox meetings are a forum to highlight safety expectations and encourage participation from everyone on site. They don’t need to be lengthy; a quick stand-up meeting will do – maybe even with a side of chocky biscuits to sweeten the deal! We recommend holding these meetings weekly, or at least twice a month, to keep safety at the front of everyone’s minds.

Some building companies take it a step further by incorporating toolbox meetings into their daily routine. Starting each day with a brief safety discussion helps to make safety a daily habit, rather than an afterthought.

Running an effective toolbox meeting

The success of a toolbox meeting hinges on a few key factors:

Topics to discuss

Here are some prompts to kickstart discussions in your toolbox meetings:

Toolbox meetings help with communication, collaboration, and continual improvement. Remember, safety is a team effort, and toolbox meetings are where that effort begins.

The HazardCo App includes all the on-site safety reports you need, such as a handy tool to record toolbox meetings.

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We all know subcontractors need to complete their SWMS before starting any high-risk construction work but did you know that as the principal contractor, you also need to ensure that a SWMS has been prepared before their work starts?

With HazardCo, it’s easy to stay on top of health and safety activity from your subbies.

Project Plus unlocks the HazardCo app for all of your subbies and it automatically shares the required reports with you, taking the hard yakka out of health & safety for everyone.

With HazardCo, your subbies can easily complete and share their SWMS and other on-site health and safety activity with you. The SWMS form guides your subbies through a step by step creation process. It gives you both confidence that potential hazards have been thought through and controls put in place to avoid harm.

With every report digitally stored on the Hub, you don’t need to chase paperwork or file it away… all your site’s health and safety documents are kept in the one place, which you can access from anywhere, at any time.

When all of your subbies are using HazardCo your on-site management becomes easier, you’re not bogged down with paperwork and all SWMS are in the same format making it faster to review than having to wrap your head around different templates.

SWMS are an essential part of managing health and safety on your site. HazardCo’s clever app makes it even easier for your subbies to create their SWMS and share it with you quickly – keeping your site safe and saving you time every day.

For help getting your subbies signed up, call the HazardCo team today on 1800 954 702.

It’s never good to find out the hard way that there’s a gas, power, water or communications line buried right where you need to put something on your site. When planning for excavation works, it is important to implement safe excavation practices to minimise the risk of injury and hitting critical services.

Digging blind can result in construction delays, increased costs and serious incidents.

 

What is the definition of excavation?

Excavation work is referred to as any work involving the removal of soil or rock from a site to form an open face, hole or cavity, using tools, machinery or explosives. This includes open excavations, potholing, pit excavations, trenches, retaining walls and shafts and tunnels. 


What are my legal obligations?

Employers have a legal duty of care to take reasonable actions to protect both the people and the services which may be affected by their work. Getting and using the appropriate information on the services is an important part of ensuring safe excavation on your site. There is a large range of options this can cover, so we will cover the basics in this article. If you have more complex excavations and want advice then get in contact with us. 

Remember any ground disturbance regardless of depth can damage infrastructure networks like gas, water, electricity so you need to get the right information to keep you & the underground services safe.


Where do I start to prevent incidents on-site, protect workers and prevent asset damage?

First, you need to get information on what the assets in the area may be. You can get this information from Before You Dig Australia. This online system is the easiest way to request known plans from the asset owners. It is important to know that not all Asset Owners are members of Before You Dig Australia, so it cannot show you everything that is in the area of your excavation. You may need to contact any other asset owners directly to get hold of plans, drawings and information regarding their assets known positions prior to starting your work.

Wait to receive all information on the assets before commencing work, and only refer to plans that are current. 

Once you have information on the assets, make sure the plans are with the workers on-site and that they have appropriate health and safety information and instruction. This information must also be made available to the principal contractor and other subcontractors, and be easily available for inspection for the duration of the work. If you have a notifiable incident the information must be kept for at least 2 years. You should also isolate work around the underground assets from the public.

Pay attention to the clues around your site such as marker posts, inspection points and metres. Never assume pipes and cables run underground in a straight line or are at their correctly specified depth, and always assume all lines are live, even if they look as though they are abandoned or decommissioned. 

Remember all digging activities can damage underground infrastructure. You should conduct a risk assessment for the task so that you can identify the hazards to focus on, and put in place suitable controls. Workers involved in the excavation need to be trained and competent to do their part of the work e.g the Excavator operator is appropriately licensed. 


Quick tips: The 5 P’s for safe excavation

To minimise the risk of damage and potential loss of life, it’s best practice to follow the 5 P’s for safe excavation:

Plan – Plan ahead by lodging your Before You Dig Australia enquiry at least two business days before your project begins, and make sure you have the correct information required to not just carry out the work but how to respond to any possible emergencies.

Prepare – Prepare by reviewing all available plans from the asset owners and ensure you conduct a visual inspection of the site for any items such as put lids, marker posts, external vents and any other visual clue for service location prior to commencing works. If you need further verification you could have Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) carried out to show exactly where buried things are. 

Pothole – To confirm the exact location of the underground infrastructure(s), pothole if permitted using the asset owner’s stated method as specified on the asset owner’s plan and information pack. Work slowly on this as you’re actually trying to “hit” it but without damaging it.

Protect – If potholing has occurred, protect the infrastructure by using various methods; such as communicating to all working on site, erecting barriers and marking the location of the exposed infrastructure. 

Proceed – You should only proceed with your excavation work after you have planned, potholed (unless prohibited) and have your necessary protective measures in place.

Remember to stay vigilant and watch for changes in the ground/soil as you dig.


Need Help? 

If you’ve got a question about safe excavation or any other health and safety matter, our HazardCo Advisory Team is here to help. Give us a call on 1800 954 702


Need more information?

Before You Dig Australia has resources available for your state or territory and best practice guidelines. Read our blog on Managing the health and safety risks associated with excavation work

Get your team involved in health and safety, and watch your workplace become a safer, happier place for everyone.

Understanding your health and safety requirements to your workers

Under health and safety legislation, businesses have a duty to engage with workers and enable them to participate in improving health and safety. The business must:

Remember that your subbies are also considered your workers when they are working for you.

Worker Participation and Engagement

Together with your workers, you can determine the best way to meet these requirements. What is reasonable and practicable will depend on your workers’ views and needs, the size of your business, and the nature of its risks.

Businesses must:

When is engagement required?

You will need to engage and consult with workers who are directly affected by a matter relating to health and safety. This includes when:

Worker Participation

It’s important to have meaningful and effective health and safety talks. It’s good for people and for business. This doesn’t mean hour-long talks or lots of documentation, it’s simply about approaching H&S with the right attitude and aiming to get everyone involved.

HazardCo makes it even simpler to do this with our ‘Toolbox Meeting’ feature on our HazardCo App – handy for making sure everyone on-site is keeping on top of what’s going on.

If you need a hand getting started or would like more information, get in touch with the friendly HazardCo team today. 

 

Any work undertaken near live overhead electric lines carries the risk of electric shock. Touching a live overhead line with any part of the body, tools or any other equipment can cause serious injury and even fatality.

Make sure that you and your team are aware of the following steps that can be taken to manage the risk of an electric shock.

Forward planning is essential. Before work starts, the person in control should:

You must prepare a SWMS before work starts and make sure it includes all the potential hazards and expected controls. Collaborate with your workers in developing the SWMS, ensuring they understand how the task is to be performed.


Eliminating the risk of electric shock


Disconnecting the electric supply

The safest option to eliminate the risk of electric shock is to temporarily disconnect a property’s electricity supply from the electricity distribution lines so that the overhead line to the property is no longer live. 


Keep people informed so they can plan ahead

Find out who needs to know that the electricity supply will be temporarily disconnected. Such as:

Anyone who could be affected by the disconnection of the electricity supply should be told:

 

Safe Approach Distances (SADs)

If work needs to take place near an overhead electric line then the worker’s body, their tools, and their equipment must be kept a safe distance away from the overhead line, or else the electrical supply must be disconnected by the approved electrical supplier. This is known as the safe approach distance, or SAD.

More information on Safe Approach Distances can be found on your state Regulator’s website or contacting the energy supplier.

Keeping you and your team safe at work is a priority, so make sure you are aware of the requirements of working near power lines. The HazardCo App Site Review resource has a list of electrical controls that should be in place to mitigate the risk of electrical hazards. If in doubt, you can give our team of Health and Safety Advisors a call on 1800 954 702

The holiday season is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Coming back to work and reopening your site is just as important as shutting it down. The New Year is the perfect opportunity to refocus and set the tone for the year ahead. Coming back to work after a couple of weeks off can give some people a serious case of Mondayitis, so consider taking the following steps on the first day back:

  • Instead of rushing and getting stuck into it, hold a kick-off toolbox to re-brief the crew on the SSSP, emergency arrangements, SWMS, and check everyone is fit for work.
  • Complete a Site Review to identify any new hazards.
    • Inspect the site to ensure everything was how you left it – fences are still in place, and containers are locked.
  • Reinstate any areas that need attention – inspect and retag scaffolds, check structures and excavations that may have been affected by inclement weather.
  • Thoroughly inspect all tools and equipment and prestart mobile plant before use.

Having a soft start can ensure that everyone has enough time to check their work areas and equipment, and remind everyone that safety is the number one priority. This also includes keeping in mind workers don’t overheat after spending the last couple of weeks in air conditioning, relaxing, and indulging. They may not be acclimatized to working in the heat.

As the weather heats up, so can risk on-site. Make sure that workers are provided with adequate protection from working in the heat so that they can do their work safely and comfortably.

If it’s too hot, consider stopping the task until the hot conditions have passed. You may also think about swapping physical work for plant or machinery, for tasks such as lifting or digging.

Make sure there’s good airflow going through the workspace by opening up windows or using fans. If the work is outdoors, consider setting up shade tents or additional undercover areas. 

Ensure your workers have access to drinking water and sunscreen, as we all know how harsh the Aussie sun can get. Wearing the right clothing and PPE will also make working in the heat more comfortable such as wearing loose-fitting, light-weight clothing, sunglasses, and sun-protective hats.

Not everyone reacts to heat the same way so you should keep an eye out on each other and if a worker experiences heat-related illness, you must act quickly. For the early stages of heat-related illness, first aid can often be effective, but you should always seek medical assistance if in doubt, or if the person’s symptoms are severe. Symptoms to look out for are:

  • Dizziness and feeling weak
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Pale, cool and clammy skin
  • Rapid breathing and shortness of breath
  • Heat cramps resulting from heavy sweating without replacing salt and electrolytes
  • Dehydration from increased sweating and workers not drinking enough water

Be prepared this summer and make sure and remember to keep the health, safety, and well-being of workers first. Here are some helpful resources and if you have any questions you can contact the Advisory Team on 1800 954 702.

Worksites tend to be filled with constant noise from tools and machinery.

While noise often means things are getting done, there is a downside to it. Hazardous noise can affect a worker’s physical and mental wellbeing including hearing loss, stress, and lower productivity. So to help you protect your hearing, here are a few helpful tips to keep your ears in tip-top-shape.

Understand noise and it’s path

Understanding what makes noise on-site and how it impacts people and different areas on site is critical. Ask yourself and your workers:

Once you understand the answers to the above, you can start putting actions into place to control noise on-site.

Be sure to monitor and review the controls throughout the project, as different stages will create varying levels of noise.

Eliminate or reduce

The easiest way to decrease the effect of excessive noise on your site is to eliminate the source of noise completely. But, chances are this isn’t possible on a busy site.

The next best thing is to reduce noise.

A couple of easy ways to do this include:

Isolation

Isolation involves creating a dedicated space for ‘noisy work’. This could be an enclosed room or area of site where all noisy work and machinery is used or placing workers in an enclosed cabin when operating mobile plant. This helps to block the path of noise and reduce the levels that reach your team.

Engineering

Having a good understanding of how machinery and tools operate can help modify processes to reduce noise at the source. Engineering controls can include choosing attachments or parts that are noise reducing, or changing the way machinery and tools are used.

Vibrations

With noise comes vibrations. These vibrations can be just as harmful as the noise itself.

Here are a few strategies to help decrease vibrations when using machines or power tools:

It’s not possible to escape noise on-site, however we can put steps in place to help reduce the effect that noise has on us while we’re working.

When it comes to construction sites, ensuring the safety and wellbeing of everyone on-site is the top priority. It’s more than just wearing hard hats and high-vis vests. It involves careful pl...
  Long gone are the days of “she’ll be right mate”. Staying on top of your health and safety makes your site safer - simple as that. We all want our team members to get home safely at ...
The reality is unsafe work at heights can have devastating consequences. Falls from heights are one of the leading causes of fatalities and injuries in the construction industry within Austral...
Running a safe site isn’t just about wearing hard hats and harnesses; it’s about effective communication and staying aware of what’s going on on-site. One of the most powerful tools is the hum...
We all know subcontractors need to complete their SWMS before starting any high-risk construction work but did you know that as the principal contractor, you also need to ensure that a SWMS ha...
It’s never good to find out the hard way that there's a gas, power, water or communications line buried right where you need to put something on your site. When planning for excavation works, ...
Get your team involved in health and safety, and watch your workplace become a safer, happier place for everyone. Understanding your health and safety requirements to your workers Under heal...
Any work undertaken near live overhead electric lines carries the risk of electric shock. Touching a live overhead line with any part of the body, tools or any other equipment can cause seriou...
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The holiday season is over and it’s time to get back into the swing of things. Coming back to work and reopening your site is just as important as shutting i...
Worksites tend to be filled with constant noise from tools and machinery. While noise often means things are getting done, there is a downside to it. Hazardous noise can affect a worker's p...
The holiday season is almost upon us, and we’re all eager to have a bit of a rest, recharge, and spend quality time with our families. As we wind up 2023, it is a demanding time for constructi...
Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) are an important tool to use within the Construction Industry for High Risk Construction Work (HRCW). We’ve listed the common myths we hear across the indust...