Tue 11 Dec 2018

Key Changes to Compliance Codes Adopted in 2018 – A Look Back

CCF members are reminded that over the course of 2018, Worksafe Victoria have reviewed – in consultation with industry, unions and solicited public comment; a number of key Compliance Codes which have direct applications and consequences to the Civil Construction industry. CCF have been involved and had direct inputs into this consultative process over the past 2 years or so.

These important Codes align to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (Vic) 2017,  and are now published and available directly from the WorkSafe website.

The Compliance Codes that have most effect on our industry and work practices are:

  • Excavation
  • Plant
  • Prevention of falls in general construction
  • Hazardous manual handling
  • Confined spaces
  • Noise
  • Demolition
  • Facilities in construction.

In recent CCF Connect eNews and Bulletin articles, we focused extensively on ‘Prevention of falls in general construction’, as well as the issue of the requirement to have a Rescue Procedure in place wherever there in a risk of a worker becoming engulfed.

The detailed ‘Summary of Changes’ to the Compliance Codes published by Worksafe Victoria are linked below for:

We strongly recommend that members download these Compliance Codes and familiarize themselves with the revised content.

A brief summary of the key changes contained within the Compliance Codes which are directly relevant to Excavation, Plant and Confined Spaces – and which may have a direct impact on how we manage the day to day hazards and corresponding risks on civil worksites, is provided below:


The key changes include:

  1. New content has been introduced that outlines how excavation work should be planned in accordance with the OHS Regulations, including:
  • the preparation of health and safety coordination plans
  • safe work method statements
  • licensing for high risk work and asbestos removal
  • providing notification to WorkSafe about excavation work before it starts
  • emergency procedures.

This part incorporates some original information from the old code about how to plan for work around essential services, and expands on this to also cover overhead power lines, underground services and adjacent buildings or structures.

  1. Controlling Risks

The key changes include information from the old code in relation to placing the spoil pile and safety helmets has been incorporated, and expands on methods to control risks with information about:

  • how to manage loads near excavations
  • securing the work area and providing safe entry and exit
  • using plant
  • preventing falls and falling objects
  • using explosives
  • managing atmospheric conditions
  • undertaking manual excavation work or emergency works
  • reducing the risk of ground collapse

The majority of information in the old code has been incorporated into this part of the new code, which outlines methods to reduce the risk of ground collapse. The information has been significantly updated and expanded, in line with modern work practices, state of knowledge and legislation.


There is new guidance for designers, suppliers and manufacturers of Plant.

There are also revised obligations on the Duties of Employers as to:

  • maintaining risk controls
  • review of risk controls
  • colour coding
  • removal of guarding
  • guarding and insulation from heat and cold
  • isolation procedures
  • operator controls
  • emergency stop devices
  • warning devices
  • automatic audible alarms
  • motion sensors
  • lights
  • flashing lights
  • percussion alarms
  • radio sensing devices
  • air horns
  • controlling the risk of mobile plant overturning
  • controlling the risk of exposure to falling objects
  • controlling the risk of operator ejection
  • controlling the risk of collisions
  • operator protective devices
  • blind spots for operators on powered mobile plant
  • roll-over protection on tractors
  • lifting attachments
  • controlling risks to the operator
  • controlling risks to passengers
  • warning devices on industrial lift trucks
  • lifts
  • notice of rated capacity of lift
  • tower cranes
  • purchasing new plant
  • hiring or leasing duties
  • transporting plant
  • making changes to using plant in the workplace
  • inspecting plant
  • conducting inspections, maintenance and cleaning
  • employer duties


 Some key changes to the Confined Space Compliance Code include:

  1. The full definition of a ‘confined space’ under regulation 5 of the OHS Regulations has been added under the subheading ‘What is a confined space?’
  2. Fire and explosion information has been revised to more directly set out an employer’s duties in relation to these risks. The definition of ‘lower explosive limit’ has also been added.
  3. Reference to Manual Handling has been replaced with Hazardous Manual Handling.
  4. Information about testing the atmosphere has been moved from the ‘Specific risk control duties’ part of the old code. This section explains the locations in a confined space that should be tested and when tests should be carried out. This includes:
  • testing the atmosphere
  • where to test
  • when to test

5. a new table sets out the considerations for employers when they are planning emergency procedures.

Considerations include:

  • isolation of plant and services
  • methods of isolation from materials, contaminants or conditions
  • methods of isolation from the activation or energising of plant or services
  • ensuring a safe atmosphere
  • purging
  • ventilation
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • fire and explosion
  • signage
  • confined space entry permit
  • entry to and exit from a confined space
  • communication and initiation of emergency procedures
  • emergency procedures
  • planning and establishment of emergency rescue and first aid procedures
  • rehearsal and implementation of emergency procedures
  • respiratory protective equipment
  • entrance and exit size to enable rescue
  • maintenance of plant

These summaries are only a Snapshot of the key changes to the Codes, which have a direct bearing on our industry.

For full context and guidelines, please download the Compliance Codes and the Summary of Key Changes, from the links provided above.

If there are any further questions – do not hesitate to contact the CCF OH&S Advisor on 0427 855 208.