Roundtable recommends better building safety

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A recent building industry roundtable hosted by the federal government has highlighted the importance of safe work practices and product compliance. The roundtable was convened by Parliamentary Secretary for Industry Bob Baldwin and many industry delegates gave suggestions and held discussions about how to make building sites safer.

Mr Baldwin has singled out the need to protect the market from faulty products that can have negative consequences for many parties involved in home building.

“These faulty products are not meeting Australian standards and causing significant risk of fire or failing the most basic of stress tests,” he said in a November 26 statement.

“Families building a new home or renovating their home should be able to have confidence that their dream build is being completed to the highest standards with the best quality products.”

It is important that workers have durable, safe and up to standard tools and equipment in any industry, but especially in home building. A faulty home not only costly, but dangerous to many people, which is why the right products should be used right from the beginning.

Whether it is stable access equipment for scaffolding or a correctly functioning power tool, everything must be certified as safe for use.

Calls for supply chain to improve

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) was represented at the meeting by building spokesperson Kristin Brookfield, who made suggestions on how to improve product safety, which she says impacts numerous property owners and construction workers.

“The supply chain for building products and materials should provide certainty to home builders and contractors that the products on the shelf are fit for purpose,” she stated.

“By ensuring that the products available for sale meet the right standards, the risk to builders, contractors and home owners can be minimised.”

Ms Brookfield said that in the current supply system, consumers are often left with the final decision on the safety of a product. She called for this responsibility to rest with importers, vendors and manufacturers, on both a domestic and global level.

“This is an increasing problem for the whole building industry, and no one wants to see a significant or catastrophic failure occur. It’s time that all levels of government worked together to seriously address the issue,” she added, before suggesting ongoing sales support to back up products.

Sitecraft is committed to meeting the expectations of customers, and providing products for safe materials handling that are high quality and perform as they are required.

An eye on the future

The Masters Builders were also present at the meeting, alongside the Property Council of Australia. Recently, the Master Builders noted that building confidence had made a positive move for the first time since the 2013 federal election, which may indicate an upswing in building in the future.

This has been backed up in Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, which have indicated a 10.2 per cent increase in private sector dwellings in trend terms between September 2013 and September 2014. Clearly, there is positive movement in the building industry. With even more homes to be constructed, it is more important than ever to ensure safe practices are maintained on these construction sites.

Employees should use safe equipment that will not break or cause injury, as well as continue using best safety practices. Recently, an investigation by the ACCC discovered that more than 40,000 households needed to have their electrical wiring recalled due to a fault. This highlights just how vital it is for every home building organisation to ensure the right practices and equipment are being used.

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