Other Workplace Hazards
Safe Housekeeping Practices
Principal contractors play an important role in ensuring the orderly conduct of a construction workplace.
The principal contractor needs to implement and maintain safe housekeeping practices, including –
- Appropriate, safe and clear access to and from the workplace;
- Safe systems for collecting, storing and disposing of excess or waste materials;
- Adequate space for the storage of materials and plant; and
- An adequate number of safety signs that are kept in good condition. Appropriate signs may include signs about –
- the direction to the site office or site amenities;
- where first aid and fire extinguishing equipment are kept;
- the means of access must be kept clear;
- where hazardous substances are kept;
- who the principal contractor is;
- head and foot protection must be worn; and
- authorisations required for the site.
An employer or self-employed person must implement and maintain the safe housekeeping practices that apply to their work.
An employer or self-employed person must also manage risks from protruding objects such as exposed nails or vertical reinforcing steel.
Common plant is plant provided by the principal contractor for use by an employer, self-employed person or worker at the workplace.
A principal contractor must ensure common plant is safe for the purpose for which it is provided and that it is maintained.
An employer or self-employed person using the plant must ensure any requirements about its safe use are complied with.
Excavations (Including Trenches)
Before excavation work is carried out, the principal contractor for a construction workplace or an employer/self-employed person for another workplace must –
- find out what underground services exist;
- obtain relevant information about the service (location, type, depth, restrictions to be followed); and
- record the information.
An employer/self-employed person must –
- consider the information;
- follow any reasonable restrictions; and
- implement necessary control measures.
An employer or self-employed person is responsible for managing the risks associated with –
- an excavation collapsing;
- objects falling into an excavation;
- a person falling into an excavation; and
- substance exposure in an excavation, eg, carbon monoxide from plant.
A barricade or hoarding at least 900mm must be erected around an excavation unless it is not practicable or no members of the public are likely to be in the area of the excavation.
An employer or self-employed person must implement any control measures necessary to prevent risk from the collapse of another structure such as an adjoining building or road.
A barricade at least 900mm high must be erected around a trench that is 1 metre or more deep unless it is not practicable or only workers involved with the trench will be in the area; or another form of barrier exists, eg, excavated materials near the trench.
An employer or self-employed person must ensure that if a person is entering a trench more than 1.5 metres deep it –
- has shoring or shielding;
- is benched – not higher than it is wide and no vertical face exceeding 1.5 metres;
- is battered – angle not exceeding 45 ° and bottom vertical face not exceeding 1.5 metres; or
- is approved in writing by an engineer as safe to work in.
Written approval to vary the benching and battering requirements may be obtained from an engineer. The approval must be kept on site at all times. Ladders used for access must be no more than 9 metres apart in the area of the trench where work will be carried out.
Protecting the Public from Falling or Flying Objects
These regulations relate to objects that may fall onto or hit members of the public in an adjoining area. Adjoining areas could include a public footpath, road, square or the yard of a dwelling or other building beside a workplace.
Housing And Civil Construction
A principal contractor for a construction workplace or an employer/self-employed person for another workplace must assess the risk from falling objects and use controls to prevent or minimise the risks.
The controls chosen must comply with any regulatory requirements.
A principal contractor for a construction workplace or an employer/self-employed person for another workplace must –
- erect signs about the nature of the workplace, authorisations about entry to the workplace and the conditions for using adjoining areas, eg, ‘Construction site – no unauthorised entry’ or ‘Do not proceed if light is flashing – load is being lifted onto site’;
- implement one of the following controls based on the angle between the highest point where work is to be carried out and the line where the control will be put –
- barricade or hoarding at least 900mm high = 15 °
- hoarding at least 1800mm high > 15 °and = 30 °
- fully sheeted hoarding at least 1800mm high > 30 °; and
- for Demolition Work over 75 °
- Fully sheeting hoarding 1800mm high or erect a gantry
For demolition work in general (regardless of the angle formed)
- Perimeter containment sheeting or close the adjoining area to the extent to protect the public and if either are not possible another control measure
For form work over 75 °
- Fully sheeted hoarding 1800mm high or erect a gantry.
For form work in general
Perimeter containment sheeting or close the adjoining area to the extent to protect the public.
Other construction work over 75°
Fully sheeted hoarding 1800mm high or erect gantry plus a gantry or close the adjoining area or a catch platform.
The public must be kept out of an adjoining area where loads are being lifted, unless a gantry that would withstand the force of the load if it fell, has been provided.
Refer to Part 19 and the dictionary of the Workplace Health and Safety Regulation 1997 for specific requirements on control measures for protecting the public from falling objects.
Construction Workplace Amenities
Workplace amenities include:
- Sheltered area
- Washing facilities
- Drinking water
- First aid equipment
A principal contractor must ensure workers have reasonable access to a room or sheltered area to eat meals or take breaks.
The area must –
- present no health or safety risk;
- by hygienic; and
- if there are 15 or more workers at the site, have adequate space, seating and facilities for washing and storing utensils, boiling water and storing food in a cool place.
There must be 1 toilet available for each 15, or part number of workers. A toilet connected to sewerage, a septic system, a pump-out holding tank storage type system (“connected”) or a portable toilet is acceptable for a workplace with fewer than 15 workers.
However, if the number of the workers increases and the toilet provided was portable, it must be replaced by a connected toilet within 2 weeks after the number of workers has increased.
Toilets must be –
- in a cubicle or room fitted with a door and located in a position that allows privacy;
- have fresh air; and
- if used by female construction workers – be equipped with sanitary disposal facilities; and separated so that urinals are not visible.
The principal contractor must ensure workers have access to washing facilities. The facilities must be separate from toilets if there are no separate toilet facilities for females.
Employers must ensure workers have access to drinking water that has been supplied by the principal contractor from a source other than toilet, hand or face washing facilities. Reasonable access for a housing construction site would be within 30 metres from where the work is being carried out and for a high risk building, access on the ground level and every second level of the building.
First Aid Equipment
Employers must provide workers with reasonable access to appropriate and adequate first aid equipment. A self-employed person is responsible for ensuring reasonable access to appropriate and adequate first aid equipment.
- Assuring Workplace Safety
- Employee Safety Manual – Table Of Contents
- Explosive Power Tools and Other Plant
- Hazards and Hazardous Environments
- Manual Handling
- How to use bottlenecks in your business to help you write effective standard operating procedures (SOP)
- SOP Software to help you manage your standard operating procedures (SOP)
* Please read our disclaimer before downloading any of our documents