With 16 large-scale solar farms in operation and more under construction, the New South Wales workplace safety regulator will be visiting solar farm construction sites across regional NSW as part of a targeted safety campaign to ensure compliance.
SafeWork NSW executive director of compliance and dispute resolution Tony Williams said the relatively new industry and the scale of the projects created additional challenges from often remote and isolated sites, as well as electrical wiring work undertaken.
“While SafeWork inspectors have already been undertaking site visits and have responded to a number of incidents on these solar farms, these inspections will help lift standards across the industry,” Williams said.
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“We have seen some poor safety practices including unsafe electrical wiring of site sheds and amenities, vehicles and plant roll over, hitting objects and contacting overhead powerlines, poor housekeeping practices, and lack of emergency planning for remote worker risks.
“With summer coming and ground temperatures looking to soar, employers must ensure they are planning for environmental risks as well as onsite plant, equipment, amenities and safety systems.
“SafeWork inspectors will be on-the-ground working with site owners, principal contractors and site supervisors to secure the health and safety for regional workers who are building and servicing these sites.
“We will be working to ensure there are appropriate systems and controls in place around work practices and general site conditions, operators need to take more care to ensure the work conditions they have in place ensure the safety of everyone on site,” Williams said.