An ex senior ACT WorkCover inspector warned, in a Canberra Times report yesterday, that a lack of safety inspectors means that safety on the building sites in Australia’s capital cannot be guaranteed.
He said that not only is there a shortage of inspectors but they are working under excessive pressure and with a lack of training and expertise as well. He left WorkCover, now called WorkSafe, three years ago as the workload that he had was negatively affecting his health.
Mark McCabe, the ACT Work Safety Commissioner, has responded by saying that the difficulty with hiring both qualified and experienced safety inspectors is that the private sector offers rates of remuneration that are double that of government providers.
He said that there were 18 inspectors dedicated to safety and dangerous substances however up to half of these inspectors may be “offline” organising prosecutions, promoting safety campaigns or on leave at any one time.
Mr McCabe said that the inspectorate have a variety of responsibilities that the need to cover which include overseeing workers compensation and running safety education campaigns.
Sixty percent of inspections are in the construction industry however inspectors also need to cover every other industry in the ACT such as retail, health, community services and hospitality.