Chief Exec Update - the latest from Brett

21 Nov 2019

Brett Murray

Brett Murray, Site Safe chief executive, says the issues faced by the construction sector are being met by a range of initiatives.


As we approach the end of the year, I have been reflecting on the challenges we face as an industry and the challenges employers also face in keeping their workers safe.

I view health and safety as an integral part of the operational delivery of a business. A business that has operational excellence as a priority, almost always is a safe business.

But achieving operational excellence is a challenge in the current environment. The construction sector suffers from well-recognised issues of having a low skills base in some areas and a transient workforce.  There is also a shortage of experienced supervisors, low margins and a host of systemic supply chain issues. All of these things impact the ability of businesses to function both safely and effectively.

This year we are heading for the worst year in a decade for fatalities and serious injury in our sector. Currently the death toll sits at 15 and the serious injury rate the highest on record. That’s 15 men who will never go home to their families again at the end of their workday. Add that on to the 30 suicides that we have averaged every year for the past decade and the situation looks dire.

As the largest health and safety organisation in the sector, we need to ensure that we are playing our part in providing our members with effective products, services and support to better enable them to manage their risks well. We have been working to tackle this on several fronts:

Since launching our report into suicides in the construction sector earlier this year, we have been active in working with other key stakeholders such as CHASNZ, The Mental Health Foundation, St John’s and others to ensure that we are actively supporting businesses to manage mental health. This includes beginning to incorporate material on mental health into our training, provision of online links and resources, recognition of great initiatives through awards and supporting new programmes such as the recent launch of Mates in Construction.

Other key initiatives that are nearing completion or are about to kick off include:

  • A new version of the industry SSSP. We have been supporting an industry working party to update the current version and this project is going through final trials prior to launch.
  • We have been working closely with CHASNZ to align the foundational passport training with the tier one ConstructSafe test and have just launched a joint draft Guide to Site Access Requirements for industry consultation. This document clarifies the need for both foundational training and a knowledge assessment test as key parts of a broader competency framework.
  • We are also about to undertake a revamp of both the Building Construction and Civil foundational passports. We will be holding a series of workshops across the country, kicking off in December and will be looking for robust feedback from industry on the makeup and focus of these two critical safety products.

I look forward to keeping you up to date on these initiatives and more as we strive to focus on supporting you to run safe and productive businesess.