5.1 Construction

This part, 5.1 - Construction - has the new dedicated set of minimum standards for the construction industry and is part of the Hazardous Industries Chapter of the regulations. This part of the regulations came into effect July 1, 2008. It sets out specific OHS responsibilities for principal contractors, employers, workers and self-employed people.

The new regulations include requirements for:

  • principal contractors to prepare health and safety co-ordination plans for construction projects costing $350,000 or more (as of July 2014 - before this the trigger was $250,000)
  • employers and self-employed people to prepare safe work method statements for high-risk construction work
  • employees to hold a OHS induction training (commonly referred to as 'Red Card training') before undertaking construction work, and
  • employees to be trained about site-specific risks and control measures before starting work on a construction site.

Information from WorkSafe

Note:  if construction work is part of your (or your employer's) business, even if not regarded as traditionally part of the construction industry, this part of the regulations may apply.  To assist employers, OHS Reps and workers, WorkSafe has produced a leaflet Is construction work part of your business? 

The regulations

Division 1: Introductory matters

  • Application
  • What is construction work? This provides an explanation of what sort of work is covered under this chapter of the regulation and what sort of work is NOT covered.
  • What is high risk construction work? Lists particular work the regulation defines as being high risk, such as where there is a risk of a fall; work in tunnels, trenches, or other enclosed areas on roadways; working with explosives, chemicals, gas or electricity; etc
  • What is a structure? A structure is not just a building, but includes things such as towers, tunnels, shafts, roads, railways, ships, etc
  • What is a safe work method statement?
  • Self-employed person to have the same duties as an employer

Division 2: Control of risk

Subdivision 1 - Duties of employers

  • Control of risk - the employer must eliminate the risk, or if this is not reasonably practicable, control the risk according to the hierarchy of control
  • Review of risk control measures - when this is required to be done
  • Safe work method statement required for high risk construction work, requirement to review and revise it, and requirement to retain a copy of it
  • site-specific training 

Subdivision 2 - Duties of principal contractors

  • this subdivision applies to construction projects with a cost of $350,000 or more
  • defines who the principal contractor is for a construction project
  • places requirement on principal contractor of: signage; Health and safety co-ordination plans the content of which must be as per the regs, monitored, maintained and kept up to date, and available for inspection. 

Division 3: Induction training of construction work 

Apart from visitors and persons temporarily on site (eg to make a delivery), all persons at a workplace where construction work is performed must have received the construction induction training, prior to commencing work, and be registered to perform this work. The employer must not permit an unregistered worker to work on the site, but there are are certain temporary exemptions. Workers having completed the training receive a construction induction card ("Red Card") from the training provider, which must be a registered RTO.

Division 4 - Notification of construction excavation work

There is a specific requirement for an employer to notify the Victorian Workcover Authority of an intention to perform construction of certain excavation work 3 days prior to commencement of that work.

See Also:

  • The full text of the regulations can be viewed and downloaded from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website -  click on Victorian Law Today, then on Statutory Rules, and then on "O" to find the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. 
  • WorkSafe has produced a Guide to Construction [pdf].  Also go to WorkSafe topic page on Construction to access more WorkSafe information.

Last amended June 2015

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