The following is an abridgement of an article originally published on the SafeWork NSW website.
The boy who was 13 years old, visited a construction site with an adult in December. During the visit he fell from scaffolding and suffered a head injury that required surgery. In light of the incident, SafeWork NSW issues a warning to parents and businesses.
While many parents across the state are back at work in the new year and may have to take their children to work with them, they must ensure children are only taken to suitable workplaces and their movements are always monitored.
SafeWork NSW said that children should only be taken to suitable workplaces and their movements should be always monitored. People in high-risk workplaces like construction need to be trained and competent. If SafeWork inspectors find untrained, unlicenced and incompetent people on site, which can include children, this could result in the issue of fines or other notices.
Parents who want their children to work on a construction site must ensure that they have a white card, which is the minimum requirement for anyone who wants to carry out construction work. The minimum age to apply for a white card is 14.
Trent Curtin, the head of SafeWork NSW, said:
“For a child, workplaces are exciting places, but they can also be extremely dangerous. We are reminding businesses and parents they have obligations to supervise children especially around machinery, hazardous chemicals, and other risks on site which may not be obvious."
He said that businesses and parents have obligations to supervise children and protect them from hazards such as machinery, chemicals and falls. Curtin also said that there need to be protections in place for all visitors to the workplace, not just children on school holidays. He suggested some simple safety measures:
“Simple safety prevention, like locking away chemicals and tools, putting in place falls protection, or removing the keys from machinery and vehicles when they are not in use are just a few ways to create a safer place for everyone.”
Be wary of dangers when bringing children to worksites by SafeWork NSW, 11th January, 2024.