Eleven serious falls since January 1 has prompted a warning from WorkSafe Victoria that there will be consequences for not managing the risks associated with working at heights on construction sites.
WorkSafe Victoria Head of Hazardous Industries and Industry Practice, Michael Coffey, said falls were a leading cause of serious injury and death on construction sites.
“WorkSafe is asking all employers, principal contractors, contractors and workers who are undertaking work at height to review and if necessary revise their Safe Work Method Statements to ensure their fall prevention controls are adequate.”
“Our inspectors have zero tolerance for sites which do not take the risk of falls seriously.”
WorksSafe said any one of the 11 incidents so far this year could have been fatal, and that it was “frustrating” that the same sort of incidents kept occurring despite known control measures.
“The majority of incidents occur on housing construction sites and involve falls through open stair voids, from or through roof trusses or battens, from frames, or from scaffolding and ladders. The control measures to reduce the risk of falls are well known and readily available so there is no excuse for not having them in place.”
WorkSafe say all employers should control the risk of falls from height by:
• Eliminating the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction
• Reducing the remaining risk by using fall prevention devices like scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, elevated work platforms or safety mesh
• Travel-restraint systems, industrial rope-access systems, catch platforms and fall arrest harness systems can also be used to reduce the risk of falls.
Construction work involving a risk of a fall from more than two metres is considered high-risk work and a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is required.