Why not focus on the upstream?

I ran across this….http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/newsroom/Pages/illawarra-biggest-construction-project.aspx

Where is the developer and designer in the mix?  Where is the upstream planning? Why highlight the constructor?  What message does this send to other constructors??

Interestingly, it says that “WorkCover acknowledges that those dealing with risks on a daily basis are well-placed to assist with the development of specific and effective work health and safety solutions and by working collaboratively, we aim to deliver practical, cost effective solutions which provide sustainable improvements to work health and safety, injury management and return to work programs within the highest risk industry segments.”

The first part is great….workers are indeed well-placed to assist but rarely get involved in design and planning where they would truly have impact…their sphere of influence is limited and a paradigm shift is needed.  The best they (WorkCover and the constructor) can do is implement lower order controls or (usually) more expensive re-design and retrofitted engineering controls.  Furthermore, how about considering the operations and maintenance folks of this structure.  I would have thought that the folks who invented CHAIR,  a tool we think is absolutely a great idea, would be promoting a more holistic view of safe construction…fascinating is all…
The hierarchy of controls and the ideal spot to utilize them are thrown out the window.  Now, maybe they did do all those things, but why not highlight them???
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3 Responses to Why not focus on the upstream?

  1. mikebehm says:

    The headline “…enshrining highest safety standards…” made me click on this link because usually the Australians lead in design and planning thinking and I thought this to be another great example from Australia…then reading this I was disappointed.
    Also, in re-reading that quote I posted it’s almost as if the Agency and the constructor know there will be some major accidents on the project and the reactive return to work program is a good thing to announce. Why not focus on prevention? A subcontractor bidding on this job is in for some big time scrutiny…but only if someone gets hurt…hmmm.

  2. Yes Mike agreed. This does not advance safe design at all.

    This quote translates to meaning “we will wait until the safety problems turn up on the site and then try to figure out a solution”:

    “…dealing with risks on a daily basis are well-placed to assist with the development of specific and effective work health and safety solutions”.

    It is exactly the same approach exhibited by the NBN asbestos problem. Don’t worry about hazard analysis at the planning stage. Just let the problem happen and try to deal with it later as a fire-fighting exercise.


  3. Pingback: Construction work platform topples over causing death | safedesign

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