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Building Safer Roads: Australian Investment Enhances Safety Standards in Fiji

Jul 03, 2024

Australia’s investment is raising safety and efficiency standards in Fiji’s road maintenance and construction sectors.

The Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) has invested AUD72 million in Fiji’s transport infrastructure, enhancing road and bridge resilience across Viti Levu. This strategic financing, including an AUD14.7 million grant, supports Fiji’s post-pandemic economic recovery and strengthens its climate defenses, exemplifying a robust partnership that bolsters sustainable development and secures critical transport networks.

As part of this investment, the AIFFP in partnership with Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) supported the Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) to conduct the ‘Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry’ course (CPCWHS1001). 

This course provides Fijians with Australian-accredited equivalent construction safety credentials, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to work confidently and safely in the construction sector and meets FRA’s specific work health and safety (WHS) for its road construction and maintenance activities.

The FRA is the first organisation in Fiji seeking to mandate industry recognised WHS certification for its road workers, including contractors.

 After a successful pilot and feedback in 2023, it was refined and delivered to 65 FRA inspectors and road renewal contractors earlier this year.

Upon completing the training, workers on construction sites will be equipped with essential safety training, ensuring that they are well-versed in identifying hazards and implementing effective safety protocols.

The AIFFP’s approach prioritises local employment and capacity across its projects, and the road renewal contracts are all locally registered contractors with the majority of workers being local Fijians.

The AIFFP is dedicated to improving Fiji’s road safety through skill development. In partnership with FRA and APTC, the AIFFP have customised the general construction induction card training to align with Fiji’s legal framework and FRA’s operational environment.

This training has marked a significant step forward in strengthening the pool of qualified national skills to support FRA’s civil works activities.

The FRA recognises the support of AIFFP in partnership with APTC in facilitating the essential safety training. FRA has stringent policies, standards and procedures in place that ensure compliance and safety standards at the workplace and is continuously looking for opportunities to strengthen safety and efficiency standards through regular trainings and collaborations.

APTC Country Director Fiji and Tuvalu, Mr Gareth McGrath, added that APTC was proud to partner with the AIFFP to support the construction safety course initiative for the FRA.

“The opportunity to deliver the course is the first for Fiji and the APTC is happy to support this initiative, ensuring that participants are trained and empowered with crucial skills, setting a new benchmark for safety and enhancing awareness and accountability among workers and managers within the civil work sector,” he said.

APTC also supported FRA by delivering  International Skills Training to FRA’s three safety officers. This internationally recognised certification equips them with improved competency-based training skills and assessment using global best practices.  

“Now proficient in new skills and tools, these officers are prepared to tackle local challenges and lead safety training for FRA staff, significantly boosting organisational capabilities,” Mr McGrath added.

Future plans for the Prepare to Work Safely in the Construction Industry course include rolling out customised training on a mandatory basis for all road construction personnel, from casual workers to managers to address the diverse risks present on construction sites. This training ensures that everyone involved upholds the highest safety standards, safeguarding both individual and collective well-being.

Learn more about the Restoring roads and bridges across Fiji project.

APTC is an Australian Government initiative in partnership with the Pacific and Timor-Leste.

APTC is implemented by TAFE Queensland (RTO 0275)

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