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Construction industry leads the way in safe work awards

Queensland's construction industry has figured prominently at this year's Safe Work and Return to Work Awards, leading the state in innovative safe work practices and initiatives. The industry took out some of the top awards and was well represented among the finalists.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace and Safety Ambassador Shane Webcke commended the finalists and winners for their commitment to work safety and their achievements in the awards, hosted by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

Murarrie's Eagle Alliance Earthmoving took out the prize for Most significant improvement to work health and safety performance, after calling in WHSQ's Injury Prevention and Management team to target safety issues. With a new big picture perspective, Eagle Alliance Earthmoving set clear goals and tactics to implement a three-year safety project.

The plan included rapid and dramatic changes to systems of work to clarify roles, responsibilities and expectations while simplifying processes. They hired a team of full-time professionals to keep the business on track, invested in education and consultation, and demonstrated to clients that prioritising safety would ultimately save them time and money.

Mendi Constructions was a finalist in the Most significant improvement to work health and safety performance after overhauling its approach to work safety and engaging more with its workers on safety issues. Workers felt their perspective was valued and began to speak up about safety.

Concerns were then able to be addressed early and Mendi Constructions quickly saw the benefits with business increasing by 30 per cent within 18 months. In 2019, the Mendi Group reached a significant milestone by working 1,000 days without incurring a lost time accident.

Both companies were finalists in the Best demonstrated leadership in work health and safety category too.

The construction industry also featured when Buildsafe Queensland took out the Best demonstrated health and safety work design award for its Bo Arm initiative. The Bo Arm is a mechanical extension grabber tool - an innovative solution that reduces the risk of a fall when dismantling hung cantilevered bracket scaffold.

The jaws of the Bo Arm are opened and closed by the handle on the shaft, with the jaws grabbing the post and, in an upward motion, lifting it from the spigot into the building. The Bo Arm allows the worker to work safely from behind the frame without a need to reach outside of the frame for the post. You can Download a copy of this film to see how Buildsafe did it!

In the Best solution to an identified work health and safety issue category, Envirochasing Sales was a prominent finalist for its 'SafeChase' saw.

Cutting concrete, brick and stone has significant risks, with the potential to cause silicosis, carbon monoxide poisoning from exhausts and manual handling issues from kick-back of the saw. There were no products on the market that addressed all the hazards—which is where SafeChase came into its own.

SafeChase, connected to a wet vacuum system, involves water being mixed with dust inside the blade guard so the vacuum removes most of the slurry and carbon monoxide fumes into the vacuum barrel. The saw has a longer arm to extend the reach and a small blade to dramatically reduce saw kick back, allowing multiple hazards to be controlled at source.

And finally, while not strictly in the construction industry, Energy Queensland won the Best solution to an identified electrical issue award for their online tool that will certainly improve safety in the building and construction industry by over-laying overhead and underground powerline locations onto satellite maps.

The Look up and Live map is an interactive geospatial map that has been developed to display the Energex and Ergon Energy electricity networks, including sourced third-party information. It is now available on the released Look up and Live app and via the Look up and Live website.