12 May 2014

More than 350 Canterbury rebuild construction workers are spending the early hours of this morning learning about how to keep themselves and others from being seriously injured or killed while working around excavations.

Excavations are a major component of the rebuild work and are one of WorkSafe’s top priority areas in Canterbury.

“If not planned or carried out correctly, excavations on construction sites can be extremely hazardous and may lead to serious injury or death,” says WorkSafe’s Canterbury Rebuild Health and Safety Programme Director, Kathryn Heiler.

“Major hazards involved in excavations include trench collapses, coming into contact with underground cables, buried contaminants such as asbestos, and hazardous atmospheres,” says Ms Heiler.

This morning’s trade breakfast runs from 6.30-8.30am and is an opportunity for workers to hear first hand from industry and the regulator about how to improve safety.

“We want to help workers and construction companies get up to speed as quickly as possible on how they can work safely in hazardous environments, such as working around excavations,” she says.

“It’s also a chance for industry to learn what WorkSafe inspectors are looking for when they’re visiting sites across the rebuild.

“In the last year we’ve doubled the number of inspectors in our Programme team. On top of that we’ve also brought across highly experienced inspectors from WorkCover New South Wales on a rolling secondment to ensure our inspectors have a greater presence across the rebuild,” Ms Heiler says.

Presenters at the trade breakfast include representatives from Fletcher Construction, HEB, Orion and WorkSafe New Zealand.

Source: http://www.business.govt.nz/worksafe/news/releases/2014/hundreds-of-rebuild-workers-to-put-safety-first