Every worker has the right to a safe working environment, when you leave for work, you should have every confidence that you will be returning home in one piece!

Just this past Friday 1st of October, work stopped at an ACT construction site as a result of over 100 workers protesting over safety concerns.

Issues reported by the workers included lack of an established health and safety committee, lack of First Aid station on site, and concerns about emergency preparedness and access to emergency services.

Dean Hall, the CFMEU ACT branch secretary, said that employees wanted to work but were not able to due to safety concerns. There had been an increasing number of incidents including falls at the site and workers are concerned about being injured in a major incident if safety concerns were not addressed.

According to ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe, the inspector has reported that safety consultation has been poor on the site and has recommended that there be a review and re-consultation with workers within the next 14 days.

Would you refuse to work if you felt the conditions were unsafe? Are you aware of your rights under your jurisdictions legislation?

Consultation is the key.

Consultation with the workforce in relation to health and safety issues is vitally important and this simple yet incredibly effective approach is often overlooked.

In the case of the striking ACT workers, a functioning and active Health and Safety Committee would have provided a forum with which the concerned workforce could have these issues raised and dealt with. This more active approach to consultation would also move workplace safety culture in the right direction.

Every worker on this ACT construction site would have completed their white card construction safety training. Undoubtedly this training has provided them with an understanding of hazards and their rights for a safer work place.