Licence holders in Queensland’s building industry have been reminded that reporting of serious safety incidents is now a mandatory requirement for industry members and people can be prosecuted for failing to do so.
Of all Australian professions in 2017, the construction industry recorded the third-highest number of fatalities (26), and as at 18 October, 2018, it was again third on the list of occupational fatalities, with 19 workplace deaths, according to Safe Work Australia.
Commissioner of the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC), Brett Bassett, said that licence holders had a responsibility to ensure they were aware of safety issues and that reporting procedures were followed.
“Building and construction work is dangerous work. One of the reasons we licence the building industry in Queensland is to ensure that every business in this sector is working professionally,” Mr Bassett said.
“We need to see that owners of building businesses are taking as professional an approach to workplace safety as they would to their customers.”
Under provisions passed by the Queensland Parliament last year, prosecutions can result in fines of more than $10,000 for failing to notify the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) about a notifiable incident.
Notifiable incidents include the death or serious injury or illness of a person, or an incident that exposes a person to a risk of serious injury or illness.
Mr Bassett said that notifiable incident reporting provides an important warning about issues that an employer and the QBCC need to take seriously.
“That’s why court-imposed fines can apply if a report isn’t provided. Worksite safety is everyone’s responsibility, and reporting notifiable incidents can help to reduce future risks.”
While prosecutions and fines can apply for failing to report notifiable incidents, the QBCC will also continue to use education and training where appropriate to assist industry members to meet their responsibilities around the area of safety.
“When we receive a notifiable incident report, it gives a licence holder and the QBCC an opportunity to improve how that business is managing a safety risk, including by applying conditions to a licence where appropriate.”
The QBCC has today contacted more than 73,000 licensees to remind them of their safety reporting obligations, which have been in place since November 2017.
The QBCC has made it easier to report notifiable incidents through its online ‘Notifiable Incident Safety Matter Form’.
Between 1 November, 2017 and 30 September, 2018, the QBCC received 77 notifications of reportable incidents on Queensland work sites.
“We work closely with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland on safety matters, and we know there is a discrepancy between the notifiable reporting we are receiving from WHS and the reporting that is coming from industry members,” Mr Bassett said.
“As a result of this, the QBCC is now actively assessing which Queensland licensees could be failing to report notifiable incidents.”
If a notifiable incident occurs on a site under a QBCC licensee's control or where they are carrying out building work, they must notify the QBCC as soon as possible. This obligation is in addition to requirements to report incidents to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, and, when necessary, emergency services.
Mr Bassett has also contacted the CEOs of Queensland’s building industry associations to remind them of their members’ obligations, and to enlist their help in raising awareness about safety reporting.
Further details about the QBCC’s reporting requirements are available here, and also on the websites of Master Builders Queensland and the Housing Industry Association.
Contact: 139 333