Compliance in the construction industry

Compliance in the construction industry

It’s possible to meet compliance requirements and run efficient construction projects.

Compliance in the construction industry can seem never-ending. Between legal and statutory obligations, certification conditions, union regulations, building codes and insurance and bonding requirements, there is a lot for SMEs to keep up with.

In 2012-13 Safe Work Australia (Safe Work) found that work-related injury and disease cost the Australian Economy $61.8 billion, representing 4.1% of GDP.

In the event of injuries, SMEs found at fault of negligible compliance and safety procedures can face six-figure fines from Safe Work.

And studies show that nine out of ten construction projects have significant cost overruns.

Robust compliance systems help reduce risks and keep projects on track. So how can construction company CEOs increase compliance onsite?

Understand your compliance and contractual obligations.

Working first to understand your construction industry compliance and contractual obligations will create simplified, effective compliance processes. Practical tasks such as site-specific digital risk assessments and step-by-step Safe Work Method Statements that are updated and communicated at daily pre-start meetings ensure everyone is aware of the risks and their compliance responsibilities.

Make your commitment to construction compliance visible.

Make your own commitment to and understanding of construction compliance and safety clear and documented. It’s not just a certification requirement. When your staff and contractors see your practical commitment to safety, they’ll follow suit.

Understand your senior management duty under WHS laws

As the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) you have a primary duty to ensure the health and safety of your wider team. You must exercise due diligence to ensure your business complies with the required duties under WHS laws.

Get involved with your compliance manager and compliance system

If you understand the practical methodologies of your compliance system, and are actively involved in compliance decision making, it will make it easier to make health and safety a topic of everyday conversation in your company. It’s your duty to ensure your systems comply with the WHS Act and Construction code of practice.

Visit your project sites to check in

It is a PCBU’s responsibility under the WHS Act to ensure the worksite is without risk to workers. Check in with your team on site. Investigate near-miss incidents. Actively participate in compliance and safety procedures.

Listen and respond to on site feedback to improve construction compliance.

Compliance consultation and worker participation is key. Make sure your site-based trades and supervisors are aware of their roles and responsibilities and that they understand why each compliance step is in place. The ISO 45001:2018 standard requires that you implement and maintain a process for worker consultation and participation.

Your workers should be actively involved in decisions around safety and compliance. Listen to their feedback. Perhaps they’ve discovered a safer route to divert on site traffic or identified a risk of falls that wasn’t included in the original SWMS. Document all feedback in a signed and dated form. Record any applicable action for compliance auditing requirements.

Toolbox Talks and safety committee meetings are highly effective methods for PCBU consultation with workers to create practical, safe and effective onsite compliance.

Avoiding accidents through practical onsite compliance comes from the top.

You may not wear a hard hat at the office, but on-site safety begins with the CEO. Seek legal advice to understand your statutory and contractual compliance responsibilities. Translating them into practical tasks is an opportunity to show leadership, and to demonstrate a clear connection between the construction site and head office. You’ll not only keep your employees and contractors safe, but help maintain an efficient project that improves your bottom line.


Any decision that affects your business has legal implications. Contact us today to help secure your business for whatever tomorrow brings.

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