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SWMS and evolving attitudes

Posted on Sept 12, 2018

Attitudes towards safety in the building and construction industry have improved significantly in recent years.

This positive shift demonstrates the desire for our industry to move toward higher safety standards because it is logical - the right thing to do - and because settling for less comes at an unacceptable cost.

Before the construction chapter of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations and the requirements for OHS Coordination Plans and Safe Work Method Statements (SWMS) were introduced, they caused considerable concern in the industry.

These included the perceived cost implications and the risk of projects being stopped because of the absence of SWMS. But having SWMS in place has helped relieve that worry.

As a result, the commercial sector enjoyed a strong head start on the construction regulations with site inductions, red cards and the old job safety analyses already in place.

Today, OHS managers are prepared to have work suspended on their site if WorkSafe identifies that it is not being done in line with a SWMS. That’s real progress - an evolution, not just of rules, but of belief and attitude. It prevails in the commercial sector today.

Master Builders continues to urge WorkSafe to strongly enforce the requirements for SWMS, including stopping work on construction sites where SWMS are inadequate or do not exist. This will help highlight the importance of SWMS and encourage greater uptake throughout the industry.

Article by Lawrie Cross, GM Industrial Relations & Corporate Services - MBAV

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