Height safety warning follows three incidents in Vic

Friday, 11 May, 2007

WorkSafe Vic has issued a general warning on working at height following two height-related fatalities and two injuries in the past week.

Two men were taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, one with spinal injuries, after falling 3.8 metres at a Preston carpet manufacturing business.

The two men were dismantling a piece of equipment when a component shifted causing them to fall on to a concrete floor. The most seriously injured man has a fractured collar bone and spinal injuries.

A plasterer aged in his 60s died at the Alfred Hospital on Saturday after a fall at a Northcote house on Friday. On Sunday, a man who was also in his 60s died at Quambatook in the state's north after falling from a ladder.

WorkSafe's acting executive director, Eric Windholz said ensuring safe work practices was a matter of life and death.

"With two fatalities in the past four days and another serious incident " now is the time to make sure anyone working at height has appropriate protection.

"Without it, the chance of death or permanent injury is high. There have been fatalities from falling off stepladders in shops, but the risks increase greatly as the height does. Before it happens you can never tell whether you'll get up and walk away, end up in a wheelchair or die."

Windholz said that appropriate steps need to be taken to reduce the risk of a fall as far as practicable.

WorkSafe's website, www.worksafe.vic.gov.au, includes information on preventing falls across a range of workplaces.

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