Compliance in Construction industry
Construction companies are required to regularly monitor compliance standards, and managers within that industry are, or should be, familiar with the compliance levels laid out by Australian Occupation, Health and Safety authorities. Everything is included in that compliance such as making sure that all occupational health and safety standards are rigorously met. Compliance is also necessary to protect the rights of construction workers that operate in specialised industries (for example communication tower workers). Scheduling and regular inspections also form conditions of compliance.
There is a unique challenge for recruiters involved with compliance and the construction industry because there are specific measures that apply to the industry and they must be coupled with a different set of national standards.
Certain government departments are able to track a company’s action plan to ensure they recruit and hire a diverse number of candidates. A company’s action plan should clearly indicate that there is no discrimination in the workforce and it should ensure that aspects such as gender, race, and age do not affect a candidate’s suitability for employment.
A diverse workforce isn’t just about meeting compliance either. Research carried out has shown that companies who embrace workforce diversity have a better employee retention as well as a more qualified workforce. When you consider that the construction industry has a hard time finding skilled workers, both these benefits are important.
An affirmative action plan also goes outside the parameters of just hiring. A company is required to keep copies of collective bargaining agreements in which you can find information on employment policies, copies of employee contracts and that the language used is based on equal opportunity.
A company can have a periodic review to make sure they are adhering to compliance. If the construction company does not meet the standards, they can be fined.
Some Compliance Solutions
There should be company policy that every new employee goes through the same induction process. Somebody new starting out on the job should know where everything is and what the safety rules are for the site. The same induction process should be applied to site visitors, graduate technicians, and whoever else may visit the site during a project. The construction industry is considered high risk, and your compliance policies will be severely scrutinised in the event of an accident.
What is an Induction?
Generally speaking induction is the orientating of a new employee to his or her proposed workplace, explaining procedures and processes in the area, and most importantly, the recognised safety hazards in the work area. The new employee must be familiar enough after induction to carry out his or her duties as safely and as effectively as possible. The induction process will be different depending on what role that person will have on the job.
The key areas that should be covered in an induction are:
• Fire safety that includes the location of extinguishers and the fire exits.
• Is there a requirement for protective clothing? Certainly safety boots on a construction site are mandatory.
• Are there any chemicals used on site? What sort of a hazard do they represent? For example cleaning materials such as acids.
• If the worker is stationed in the office, go through safe sitting posture, monitor height, and how often to take a break from the screen.
• All work sites have a code of conduct. Horseplay and irresponsible use of construction equipment are not allowed.
• What time is lunch and morning tea taken?
• Where are the restrooms?
• The use of company property such as phones and computers for private purposes.
• Who to contact and how to do it if there are harassment or bullying issues.
This is not a complete list and remember, that every workplace and project is unique, therefore rules will be different for each specific workplace.
Not only should the new employee be taken through an induction process, but a questionnaire, or small test, after each section should be in place. On the compliancy issue, if a new employee has an accident and there is an injury, then the OH&S inspectors will be wanting to see proof that the injured worker had been inducted and was also familiar with safety practices on the site.
In the past, there have been many accidents, some fatal, that revealed some companies were not following regulated site procedures regarding induction. In those instances, the fines have been significant, in the thousands of dollars. Companies should not take the liberty of having poor induction and training processes in place. It’s in your interests and the wellbeing of your employees to make sure that everything is strictly adhered to in regard to compliancy in this area.
“Induct for Work” has done all the work for businesses that just don’t have the time to set up a compliant induction process.
Induct For Work has a free Standard induction plan developed to be used by small/medium construction companies across Australia at no charge.