Residential construction sites mismanaging risk of falls


Thursday, 22 April, 2021


Residential construction sites mismanaging risk of falls

A range of trends have been identified across residential construction sites, six weeks into a SafeWork SA audit campaign focusing on falls. Since the campaign commenced on 1 March 2021, audits conducted by inspectors have resulted in 46 breaches being identified, with 22 prohibition notices and 19 improvement notices associated with managing the risk of falls.

From the notices issued thus far, a few common trends have emerged, including poor contractor management, non-compliant scaffolding, unsafe use of ladders, open voids, and working on the live edge of a roof without controls.

SafeWork SA Executive Director Martyn Campbell said falls from heights are preventable, adding that there is no excuse for not having controls and systems in place to prevent them. In March, SafeWork SA was notified of an incident where a worker fell through single-storey fragile roofing and died as a result of the fall.

“While it may seem like a house roof is not very high, statistics show that 90% of serious injuries in 2020 were sustained from falls below three metres. The residential construction industry engages many contractors, and all parties have shared responsibilities to work together for the health and safety of themselves and others. Our inspectors observed carpenters walking the top plate with no controls in place,” said Campbell.

The SafeWork SA 2020 Health and Safety Snapshot relating to falls from heights revealed that carpenters are most at risk when working at height. To address these issues, SafeWork SA has developed new guidance on Installing Prefabricated Roof Trusses.

“Builders need to understand they have the same duty of care for contractors as their own direct workers and cannot pass the risk down to contractors,” said Campbell.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/visoot

Related News

Painter fined $40K over fall from skylight

A painter has been fined $40,000 and ordered to pay costs of $3574, after a contractor was...

WHS breaches prompt over 100 notices for SA construction sites

SafeWork SA inspectors have issued more than 100 statutory notices across residential...

Don't fall for it: reducing workplace slips, trips and falls

SafeWork SA has urged workplaces to have adequate systems in place to reduce the risk of falls,...


  • All content Copyright © 2021 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd