It is essential to be aware of safety, hazards & risks in your workplace & more so for those in the construction industry. Working at heights & near utilities are high risk activities & currently a focus for SafeWork NSW (refer  our article Safety Regulators Crackdown).

Working At Heights & Near Utilities – It is essential to be aware of the safety hazards and risks in your workplace – especially if you are in the construction industry. An area of high risk is working at heights and this is currently a focus for SafeWork NSW as mentioned in our previous article.

Also you may remember another of our previous articles where a contractor was fined $1 million for multiple breaches on a residential construction site after a worker sustained severe burns and injuries when they came into contact with high voltage powerlines on scaffolding.

Recently in Victoria a construction company was found to have breached its safety duties, as a crane operator engaged by the company to lift a display suite unit, had been working in an unsafe distance near overhead high voltage power lines and tram wires.

The company, Imagebuild Group, was fined $24,000 plus costs by the Magistrate’s Court, noting that the company:

  • Failed to obtain permission or pre-approval from utility asset owners (power grid and tram operators) prior to commencing work
  • Failed to conduct a risk assessment for the work
  • Failed to produce a SWMS for the work

WorkSafe Victoria’s construction team have also increased their presence and efforts in the industry with more site inspections, compliance actions issued and prosecutions over the last few years.

The increasing focus on the construction industry by state safety regulators and authorities should highlight to businesses to review if they have the right safety systems in place and how effectively it is implemented.

If you are working on construction sites near public roads, public assets, overhead and underground utilities – remember that there are additional risks that need to be identified, assessed and managed.

Ability Group can support you with any WHS requirements to address these risks, please contact us for more information.


Imagebuild Group Pty Ltd, Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, 11/10/2017