Recently, HAZCON has been engaged to undertake several compliance audits across various constructions sites throughout Victoria.
These compliance audits have identified that many employers or persons with management and control are trying to do the right thing and develop these documents for their employees to use and follow. However, generally speaking many of these documents have been prepared by another person, such as a manager or supervisor with limited input from employees that conduct the high-risk construction work and have first hand knowledge of the hazards and risks.
The revised Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017, Regulation 324 has now included a new clause that describes, the SWMS must be set out and expressed in a way that is readily accessible and comprehensible to the persons who use it. This includes regularly reviewing the risk controls as described in the SWMS and if necessary, revise the document where the controls have changed and are not effective.
On the 17 April 2018 the Heidelberg Magistrates' Court, charged an organisation with failure to provide such information, instruction and supervision in relation to the risk of crushing, including the failure to have in place a Safe Work Method Statement and was fined $35,000.00.
HAZCON would advise any organisation to provide their employees with sufficient training and information when undertaken any high-risk construction work that includes preparing and reviewing SWMS to ensure their understanding of the documentation and assist with meeting compliance.