Safety important as demand for skilled labour rises

employer and worker with hard hats

The demand for skilled labour in Australia’s residential construction industry increased in the September 2013 quarter, according to the Housing Industry Association. 

The HIA Trades Report, a quarterly survey of builders and sub-contractors, shows that the availability of skilled trades fell moderately during the September 2013 quarter, indicating an improvement in labour demand.

HIA Chief Economist Dr Harley Dale said the availability of residential skilled labour has been in surplus for ten consecutive quarters, but appears to have passed its peak.

"A moderate improvement in demand for skilled labour in the latest Trades Report update is consistent with this environment for residential building and we should see further improvements in labour demand in coming quarters,” he said.

“The key will be to ensure adequate policy focus and investment in skills and training. Otherwise a structural shortage of skilled labour will hinder residential building activity, as was the case prior to the GFC,” he said.  

WorkCover Queensland Customer Services Manager, Construction, John Kinnane said if the survey was indicating possible skill shortages, the safety, health and wellbeing of construction workers, while already incredibly important, becomes crucial.

“By keeping workplaces safe, and reducing the risk of injury, there won’t be additional pressure on the workforce caused by injury,” John said.

“It’s also important to remember that, if an injury occurs, encouraging workers to recover at work can not only help in their recovery, but help keep the business on track.

“If an injured worker is unable to fulfil their normal duties, a suitable duties plan can help a worker recover at work. This may involve doing some training offsite or onsite, phone based work, or administrative work. Other options include support work, such as helping out other tradies, supervising or being a spotter.” 

John said returning on limited hours may also be an option which can help support the injured worker, while also ensuring that some tasks can be completed. 

“It’s important that in busy periods that safety is never compromised, and the right safety steps are always followed.”

For more information on keeping your construction site safe, visit Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

For information on recovering at work or suitable duties, please contact WorkCover Queensland on 1300 362 128.

Last updated
09 September 2016