Government Adds Safety Rules To Prevent Unions From Shutting Down Worksites

Modifications to the Work Health and Safety Act of 2011 will allow the state government to protect the right of construction firms to be notified by unions at least 24 hours in advance of an upcoming worksite inspection. Debate over the change has caused quite a stir in the construction community.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie holds the new law is designed to improve both employee safety and workplace productivity by keeping boisterous union members from shutting down constructions sites on unfounded claims of safety violations. This comes on the heels of a fifty-nine day union shutdown of the new children’s hospital in 2011, which ultimately cost the government $7 million.

Union officials believe the move is politically motivated despite the fact that reports show Queensland’s non-fatal injury and disease claims were down by 24%. The union insists the 24 hour notice law will encourage employers to operate with unsafe workplaces, providing them with enough time to hide any deficiencies before inspectors arrive.

The new law is expected to go into effect in early 2014.

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