06:47 pm, Wednesday 27 March, 2013
Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe
Photo: WorkSafe ACT
Work Safety ACT Commissioner Mark McCabe released a statement today in response to Master Builders Australia’s review of the Getting Home Safely report.
Mr McCabe said that while he recognises MBA’s commitment to addressing safety issues and their cooperation, some aspects of their statement regarding the report concerned him.
“The MBA’s lack of unequivocal support for the report’s call for a 35% improvement in the local industry’s safety record is potentially a serious setback for local workers,” said Mr McCabe. “In many senses this is a modest target. After all, if achieved it would simply bring us up to the national average, no more.”
“As difficult a target as this will be, however, its best chance of success lies in the united efforts of the industry, unions, the regulator and the Government to achieve it. The industry’s continuing denial of our local record, despite the MBA national office using this very same data in its own report on OHS Performance in the Construction Industry in November 2011, and the MBA referencing the national component of that data in their own submission to the Inquiry, is an impediment to change. A critical component in achieving change is an acceptance of the need for that change to occur.
“My other disappointment is in the MBA’s rejection of the report’s call for them, as one of the two significant industry representative bodies here in the ACT, to show the leadership the industry needs at this point in time.
“The Getting Home Safely report was a damning one for the local industry, and the calls for reform and change are significant. While I understand the difficulty in accepting such criticism, the industry has to do more than sit back and call on everyone else to lift their game while rejecting the pivotal importance of their own responsibilities,” he said.
In its review, the MBA did not support two of the report’s 28 recommendations. MBA said the development of frameworks “relating to the management of safety were not tasks an industry association such as the MBA could undertake” because of the diversity and size of organisations in the industry, and because “safety management is a fundamental corporate governance matter that rests with building companies and developers.”
MBA also said they should “promote and develop very specific ‘culture change’ training programs aimed at middle management,” which is an idea identified in the Getting Home Safely report.
“I am very heartened by the MBA’s support for the call for cultural change,” said Mr McCabe. “It is important, however, for local employers to recognise that cultural changes which works invariably does so as a result of a top-down approach. Such change needs to start with an employer’s management team, and gain genuine support and commitment there, before it moves on to a call for workers to also embrace the change needed.”
In February, the ACT government adopted all of the inquiry’s 28 recommendations. It also found that the ACT had the highest injury rate in Australia with one in every 40 workers expected to sustain serious injury at work every year.
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