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National Standard for Construction Work

New regulations relating to the National Standard for Construction Work came into operation for the civil/commercial construction sector on 3 January 2008 and for the residential construction sector on 1 October 2008.  WorkSafe is now enforcing these regulations.

The new regulations introduce requirements covering:

  • the provision of information;
  • consultation; and
  • planning and documentation for construction projects.

These changes include the preparation of safe work method statements (JSAs) for high-risk construction work and the preparation of Occupational Safety and Health Management Plans for all construction sites where five or more people are working, or are likely to be working, at the same time.

More information

  1. What is the National Standard for Construction Work?
  2. What do the new regulations require?
  3. What must be included in an Occupational Safety and Health Management Plan?
  4. What is 'high-risk construction work'?
  5. What information must be included in a safe work method statement (JSA) for 'high-risk construction work'?
  6. Where can I get more information?

1. What is the National Standard for Construction Work?

The National Standard for Construction Work (the Standard) was developed by the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission - now known as Safe Work Australia. It provides a nationally consistent approach to managing occupational safety and health in the building and construction industry.

The Standard aims to protect people from the hazards associated with construction work. It assigns certain responsibilities to those involved in the design and construction process.

2. What do the new regulations require?

The new regulations introduce the following requirements:

  • Clients commissioning design and/or construction work as part of a trade or business (referred to in the new regulations as 'commercial clients') must consult with the designer and the main contractor to ensure, as far as practicable, that the construction work can be done without risk to safety and health.
  • Designers must provide their 'commercial clients' with a written report on the occupational safety and health aspects of their designs. 'Commercial clients' must ensure, as far as practicable, that this information, together with any other occupational safety and health information they may receive regarding the construction project, is passed on to the main contractor and to anyone who obtains the end product of the construction work from the client.
  • Main contractors must ensure, as far as practicable, that information in their control that relates to the hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control processes for a construction project is compiled, recorded and kept until the construction work is complete.
  • Main contractors must ensure that a site-specific Occupational Safety and Health Management Plan is prepared for each construction site where five or more people are working, or are likely to be working, at the same time. The plan must be prepared before work starts at the construction site and must be kept up to date as the project progresses. Each person doing construction work at the site must be made aware of the plan and how it applies to their work. Details of what must be included in an Occupational Safety and Health Management Plan are given later in this information sheet.
  • People identified by the main contractor as having day-to-day on-site control of 'high-risk construction work' must, as far as practicable, provide the main contractor with a written safe work method statement (also known as a Job Safety Analysis, or JSA) for all 'high-risk construction work' they manage or control at the site. If the main contractor cannot identify anyone with day-to-day on-site control of 'high-risk construction work' to prepare the necessary safe work method statement(s), then the main contractor must prepare the statement(s). The main contractor must ensure that there are measures in place to ensure, as far as practicable, that all 'high-risk construction work' done at the site is carried out in accordance with the relevant safe work method statement(s).

Details of what must be included in a safe work method statement for 'high-risk construction work' are given later in this information sheet.

3. What must be included in an Occupational Safety and Health Management Plan?

An Occupational Safety and Health Management Plan must, as far as is practical:

  • identify each person with a specific occupational safety and health responsibility at the construction site, and describe how those responsibilities are coordinated;
  • describe the occupational safety and health induction training that will take place in relation to the construction work being done at the site;
  • describe the arrangements for managing occupational safety and health incidents at the site;
  • set out the site safety rules and describe the arrangements for ensuring that everyone at or visiting the site is informed of those rules;
  • include all the information held by the main contractor in relation to the identified hazards, the risks arising from those hazards and the control measures in place; and
  • include the safe work method statements (JSAs) that have been prepared for any 'high-risk construction work' to be done at the site.

For assistance in preparing OSH management plans go to the SubbyPack or the ThinkSafe Small Business Assistance program

4. What is 'high-risk construction work'?

The term 'high-risk construction work' means any of the following:

  • Construction work involving a risk of a person falling two metres or more;
  • Construction work on telecommunications towers;
  • Construction work involving demolition;
  • Construction work involving removing or disturbing asbestos;
  • Construction work involving alteration to a structure that requires the structure to be temporarily supported to prevent its collapse;
  • Construction work involving a confined space;
  • Construction work involving excavation to a depth of more than 1.5 metres;
  • The construction of tunnels;
  • Construction work involving the use of explosives;
  • Construction work on or near pressurised gas pipes (including distribution mains);
  • Construction work on or near chemical, fuel or refrigerant lines;
  • Construction work on or near energised electrical installations and lines (whether overhead or underground);
  • Construction work in an area that may have a contaminated or flammable atmosphere;
  • Construction work involving tilt-up or precast concrete;
  • Construction work on or adjacent to roads or railways that are in use;
  • Work on a construction site where there is movement of powered mobile plant;
  • Construction work in an area where there are artificial extremes of temperature;
  • Construction work in, over or adjacent to water or other liquids if there is a risk of drowning;
  • Construction work involving diving.

5. What information must be included in a safe work method statement (JSA) for 'high-risk construction work'?

Safe work method statements (also known as Job Safety Analyses or JSAs) for 'high-risk construction work' must, as far as practicable, set out:

  • each high-risk construction work activity that either is or includes a hazard to which a person is likely to be exposed;
  • the risk of injury or harm arising from those hazards;
  • the safety measures to be implemented to reduce the risk(s), including the control measures to be applied;
  • a description of the equipment used in the work activity; and
  • any qualifications and/or training required to enable people to do the work safely.

The safe work method statements must be given to the main contractor before the 'high-risk construction work' starts at the site, and must be kept up to date as the project progresses. For assistance in preparing safe work method statement go to the SubbyPack.

6. Where can I get more information?

Detailed information about the new regulations can be found in the following industry guidance documents (Acrobat PDF):

For assistance in complying with the new regulations go to the SubbyPack

You can also contact WorkSafe by telephoning 1300 307 877 or by sending an email to safety@commerce.wa.gov.au.

Copies of the National Standard for Construction Work can be downloaded from the website of the Office of the Safe Work Australia.

Copies of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations can be downloaded from the State Law Publishers website.

WorkSafe inspectors are now enforcing these regulations.

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