Christmas Site Shutdowns 2019

HIA Industry Update for NHS
Approx read time: 2 minutes

With Christmas around the corner, you need to take the time to ensure you have appropriate arrangements in place for your employees and any contracts with works in progress.

Employment Arrangements

If you employ staff, please be aware of the Public Holidays over this Christmas / New Year season:

Public Holidays Date
Christmas Day Wednesday 25th December 2019
Boxing Day Thursday 26th December 2019
New Year’s Day Wednesday 1st January 2020
Australia Day substitute day Monday 27th January 2020

Don’t forget that time taken by employees as Annual Leave does not include Public Holidays and Rostered Days Off.

Work in Progress

If you use HIA Building Contracts, and you have an ongoing project that will not be completed after the Christmas / New Year period, you should give written notice to your client informing them of your intention to shut down over this period.

If you had not contemplated the shutdown period within the contract period and now foresee the contract running past the completion date (due to perhaps other delays that have occurred prior to this time that are outside of your control), HIA contracts entitle you to extend the time for the building period for the industry shutdown period.

This, however, is not an automatic extension and the procedure within the contract must be followed to claim this extension of time. This involves giving the owner a written notice within 10 working days after becoming aware of the cause and the extent of the delay. The notice should inform the owner of the exact amount of extra time that is to be added to the building period due to the shutdown.

For any new contracts you sign up where you expect to start works before Christmas, you should take the shutdown period into account when calculating your building period as this delay is anticipated.

Site Security

With the annual shutdown and school holidays fast approaching, it is important that children and members of the public in general are not exposed to any hazards on your site. Where hazards are present on your site, you need to ensure:

  • they are controlled to prevent injury or death; and
  • that members of the public are not exposed to them if they are uncontrolled.

You will need a perimeter fence if your risk assessment identifies that this is the only way to control or minimise the risks.

You should strongly consider installing a fence around the site where it is:

  • near a school or route where children travel to and from school;
  • close to parks and recreational areas;
  • in a built up area.

Remember that unauthorised persons, including children, may not be deterred from entering your site by signs alone. Ideally, all hazards on site should be controlled. However, this may not always be achievable. So fences may help in restricting access.

Make sure your fencing is adequate for its purpose by checking that it is:

  • a suitable height to deter entry (e.g. 1.8m high)
  • is constructed from dedicated materials
  • is difficult to climb; is difficult to gain access underneath
  • is stable and able to withstand anticipated loads
  • has secure gates and joints that do not present a weak point for entry.

It will also be important to take steps to ensure that items like appliances, unfixed materials and equipment are hidden, locked away or removed from site to minimise the potential for theft or injury.

For more information HIA members can contact HIA Workplace Services on 1300 650 620. 

On behalf of HIA I wish all NHS customers, colleagues and families a Merry Christmas and a happy, prosperous and safe New Year.

Craig Jennion
HIA Executive Director – Hunter