03:58 pm, Saturday 5 October, 2013
According to proposed OHS changes by the attorney general in QLD, unions wanting to inspect safety breaches will have to wait 24 hours to access construction sites.
The purpose of these changes, according to Jarrod Bleijie, is to make sure that all safety issues are dealt with by the government’s safety regulator and to “stop unions hijacking work sites.”
The Property Council has welcomed the proposal union bosses are concerned.
John Battams, the president of the Queensland Council of Unions, said that lives will be put at risk if usions are forced to give notice before entering worksites as employers will have time to cover up dangerous practices.
He said that 24 hours gives employers plenty of time to “hide what would be otherwise obvious dangerous situations.”
Seven people lost their lives in 2012 at construction sites in Queensland which was two more than the previous year.
On the other hand injury and disease claims for the building industry have fallen from 25.9 to 19.7 per 1000 workers in the four years to 2011 according to figures from SafeWork Australia.
Michael Ravbar, the CFMEU secretary said that though most builders valued safety over profits there are still those that are considered cowboys and rednecks who don’t.
He said that the proposed changes would cause safety to decrease, fatalities increase along with accidents.
However, according to Mr Bleijie it is the unions that are hurting workers by causing them to be locked out of workplaces.