Christchurch rebuild workers put safety first

A trade breakfast in Christchurch on Monday morning made safety the top priority for the city’s rebuild workers.

Christchurch rebuild workers put safety first
Safety is a top priority for the Christchurch rebuild

More than 350 Canterbury rebuild construction workers attended a breakfast on 12 May to learn about how to keep themselves and others from being seriously injured or killed while working around excavations.

It was hosted by WorkSafe New Zealand, the workplace health and safety regulator. Canterbury rebuild health and safety programme director Kathryn Heiler said excavations are a major component of the rebuild work and are one of WorkSafe’s top priority areas in Canterbury.

"If not planned or carried out correctly, excavations on construction sites can be extremely hazardous and may lead to serious injury or death," she said.

"Major hazards involved in excavations include trench collapses, coming into contact with underground cables, buried contaminants such as asbestos, and hazardous atmospheres. We want to help workers and construction companies get up to speed as quickly as possible on how they can work safely in hazardous environments."

The trade breakfast ran from 6.30-8.30am and featured representatives from Fletcher Construction, HEB, Orion and WorkSafe New Zealand.

Ms Heiler added: "In the last year we’ve doubled the number of inspectors in our programme team. On top of that we’ve also brought across highly experienced inspectors from WorkCover New South Wales on a rolling secondment to ensure our inspectors have a greater presence across the rebuild."

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