With construction cranes now permanent feature across Wollongong's rising skyline, safety inspectors will this week begin a crackdown on safety at the city's construction sites.
SafeWork NSW has advised developers that any sites using tower cranes on their properties can expect a visit from inspectors, who will check crane safety systems and ensure that loads are not being suspended or moved over the heads of workers or the public.
SafeWork executive director Tony Williams said tower cranes were involved in 60 dangerous incidents in NSW last year.
"The key reason given by construction companies for non-compliant tower crane operations is operator error, so Safe Work inspectors will be out there on the sites talking to all operators about how they can work safer with cranes," he said.
"These visits will be compliance focused, and inspectors will issue notices for unsafe work, and penalty notices will be issued for non-licensed operators and doggers."
He said a number of construction site workers had obligations under the work health and safety legislation.
"Our inspectors will be talking to both supervisors and workers on sites to check safe slinging techniques are being used, that loads are not being suspended or moved over the heads of workers or the public and that controls are in place to manage the risks of falling objects," Mr Williams said.
"SafeWork inspectors ... will show zero tolerance to workers or the public being put at risk of serious or fatal injuries."
The crackdown comes as the number of Wollongong's cranes - thought to be a symbol of a region's economic growth - has been recognised on a national index fro the first time.
At the insistence of Wollongong council's economic development unit, the city appeared on Australia's national crane index in the third quarter of this year.
With 18 cranes in the sky between Corrimal and West Wollongong, the city ranks above the Central Coast, Newcastle, Sunshine Coast, Hobart and Darwin in the index.