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Gale warning for construction sites

Construction companies across Victoria should prepare for gale force winds today.

June 24, 2014 11:27am

Construction companies have been warned to prepare for gale force winds across Victoria today as an intense low pressure system crosses the state.

“Strong winds can occur at any time of year, so all construction companies need to be ready for days like today,” Victorian WorkCover Authority Executive Director of Health and Safety, Len Neist, said.

“Tragically, a builder died yesterday when a brick wall fell on him at a construction site in Brighton East during strong winds,” Mr Neist said. “Every year, there are serious incidents in which strong winds lead to the collapse of walls on buildings under construction.”

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts winds of up to 125km/h along the coast and in alpine areas and peak gusts of up to 110km/h in northern parts of the state today. Elsewhere damaging winds of 40-60km/h are expected with peak gusts of up to 110km/h.

“Builders must ensure partially-completed buildings and structures are well supported. Brick, block and concrete walls should be adequately braced until work is completed,” Mr Neist said.

“When structures collapse, the chance of death or serious injury is high. The risk is not just to the workforce, but passers-by, neighbouring premises and emergency services’ workers.”

Mr Neist also reminded industry of the dangers of flying debris. “Roofing sheets and other loose materials must be secured to prevent them being picked up by the wind and being blown around or out of the site,” he said.

Mr Neist urged any employer or employee wanting further information to contact the VWA’s Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 or visit vwa.vic.gov.au/preventingstructuralcollapse

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