Safety bill targets dodgy building products

Safety bill targets dodgy building products
By Hannah Dixon on 8 August 2017 A Queensland parliamentary inquiry has recommended passing a bill that affects the safety duties of  building product supply chain participants.

The Building and Construction Legislation (Non-conforming Building Products – Chain of Responsibility and Other Matters) Amendment Bill 2017 would require that designers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers and installers ensure building products are fit for use and are not non-conforming.

The Department of Housing and Public works advised that the death of electrical contractor Jason Garrels and the two fatalities that occurred at an Eagle Farm building site last year “highlighted the need for greater interagency co-operation and a higher level of notification to be provided to the QBCC”.

These tragedies, it said, demonstrated a need for these legislative changes. 

"The proliferation of cheap, imported, substandard products entering our country is a risk to the health and safety of all Queenslanders," said Mick de Brenni, State Housing and Public Works Minister, at the time he introduced the bill.

The bill, if enacted would confer responsibilities on the building product supply chain participants to ensure a building product, so far as reasonably practicable, is not a non-conforming building product.

New powers for QBCC


It would also enable new powers for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC).

This would include:
  • requiring QBCC licensees to notify the QBCC about activities that might present a WHS issue
  • requiring the QBCC to report to regulatory agencies WHS issues where there is a serious injury or death;
  • enabling the QBCC to enter into information sharing arrangements with other regulatory agencies; and,
  • widen grounds for the QBCC to take disciplinary action against a licensee including convictions relating to workplace safety.
Other recommendations include that the QBCC develop a protocol with the Office of Industrial Relations to ensure that notification requirements within the bill don’t result in licensees being required to make separate notifications to these agencies about the same matter.

Another recommendation suggests de Brenni provides advice about the estimated cost of implementing and enforcing the regulation.

Most responses to the committee stated that stakeholders believed that non-conforming products, safety and supply chain accountability were a national issue that needed a national response.

“Despite significant pressure from the states, meaningful action to date has not been forthcoming. To protect Queenslanders, whether they be in the office or at the shops, at home or on a construction site, we are called to act,” de Brenni said in his explanatory speech.

The report can be read in full here.

See also: Tragedies spark new negligence offence in Qld.

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