Safety inspectors target falling hazards on construction sites

Thursday, 03 May, 2018

Safety inspectors target falling hazards on construction sites

Reducing falls at housing construction sites is the goal of WorkSafe Victoria, following 40 serious incidents since 1 February 2018.

Safety inspectors will be visiting construction sites this month, looking to reduce falling hazards and ensure that employers are keeping their workers safe.

Incidents that have occurred on building sites in April include:

  • a man who fell and broke his leg after catching his foot between the rungs of a ladder at Inverloch;
  • a man who fractured ribs after falling three metres through a void at Fawkner;
  • a man who received concussion after falling 2.4 metres when a truss gave way at a site in Caulfield North.

WorkSafe Acting Head of Hazardous Industries and Industry Practice Dermot Moody said falls were an ongoing issue within the housing construction sector.

“Even a fall from a low height can still lead to serious injury or a death,” Moody said.

“Employers in the housing sector have the same responsibilities as those on any other site to identify risks and ensure correct safety measures are in place.

“Our inspectors will be reminding them of this when they visit housing sites this month.”

Moody said WorkSafe inspectors would not hesitate to take enforcement action where they identified the risk of a fall, or where safe work method statements were not in place for high-risk construction tasks.

“Control measures for fall risks are well known and readily available, so there is no excuse not to have them in place.”

Employers can control the risk of falls by eliminating the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction.

The remaining risk can be reduced by:

  • fall prevention devices like scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, elevated work platforms or safety mesh;
  • using a ladder or administrative controls;
  • travel-restraint systems, industrial rope-access systems, catch platforms and fall arrest harness systems.

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