New law for building industry

Monday 9 January 2012

New law for building industry

Building designers, architects, builders, engineers and all those involved in the design of buildings will be required to adhere to 'Safe Design' under the new National Harmonisation of WHS legislation which came in to place from 1 January 2012.

Designers will also have a duty to provide a safety report and risk assessment to their clients for all design projects including residential housing.

The purpose of this new legislation is to reduce the number of workplace deaths and injuries in the construction industry. It is estimated that up to two-thirds of deaths in the industry can be attributed to poor design and planning.

The designer must consider the building each time that it is used as or in a workplace including during its construction, maintenance and end of life demolition.

Sophie Barrett of Safe Design Australia says that although many designers are concerned about the extra work, thinking about safe design during the design stage and making a few minor modifications can make a big difference to the safety of construction and maintenance workers.

“Examples could include specifying non-toxic paints and finishes rather than their hazardous alternatives, which could save a painter’s life in the future; putting permanent anchor points on the roof for maintenance; or making sure risk from overhead power lines are shown on your plans or managed in your safe design report,” she said.

More information can be found at or by contacting your State Work Health and Safety Agency.  

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