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Last updated February 2024

This chapter explains the health and safety obligations of those who undertake construction work, and what you need to do to comply with them.

What are your health and safety obligations when undertaking construction work?

All businesses that undertake construction work have an obligation to maintain a safe working environment, and ensure there are no risks to the health and safety of their workers or others impacted by the construction work, such as members of the public.

Definition: Construction Work

Construction work is work performed on a structure or part of a structure, including its erection, construction, extension or structural alteration. Construction work includes building, renovating, site preparation, plumbing and electrical work.
Tip: Safe Work Australia has published a code of practice for the construction industry, Construction Work. The code applies to all jurisdictions that have adopted the code under the Work Health and Safety Act (WHS Act), although with some modifications in each jurisdiction. The general guidelines in the code also apply to construction work in Victoria where several compliance codes apply. Find the code that applies in your jurisdiction on your regulator’s website.

Other requirements under the Work Health and Safety Regulations (WHS Regulations) may apply to construction work, for example, requirements for:

  • prevention of falls;
  • exposure to noise;
  • hazardous manual tasks;
  • working in confined spaces;
  • demolition work;
  • electrical safety and electrical work;
  • plant and structures;
  • high-risk work (licensing and registrations);
  • working with hazardous chemicals, asbestos and lead; and
  • resolving health and safety issues.