Alert on safety mesh

Monday, 16 January, 2006

WorkCover NSW chief executive officer, Jon Blackwell has issued a safety alert for safety mesh used on roofs as part of a continuing campaign on falls from heights in the construction industry.

"This safety alert addresses the effective use of safety mesh to prevent falls when working on commercial or industrial buildings," said Blackwell. "The Occupational Health & Safety Regulation 2001 requires that workers are protected from the risk of falling when working at height and specifies a hierarchy that must be used when applying control measures. It is preferable that falls are prevented rather than interrupted by fall arrest devices, such as harnesses," he said.

"Therefore, it is essential that safety mesh be incorporated in the design of new buildings and structural engineers and developers must ensure that it is correctly installed," said Blackwell.

The WorkCover Safety Alert was developed partially as a result of a July 2005 NSW coronial finding that safety mesh which should have prevented a young construction worker from falling to his death had not been installed correctly. "WorkCover inspectors have confirmed that some worksites visited recently have incorrectly installed safety mesh that presents a potential death trap for workers," said Blackwell.

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