Tuesday 01 May 2018

Housing sites on notice to reduce the risk of falls

WorkSafe inspectors are focusing on fall hazards in an effort to reduce the number of workers injured at housing construction sites.

Since February 1 this year, 40 serious incidents involving falls at construction sites have been reported to WorkSafe.

These include the following incidents, which occurred on building sites in April:

  • 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,” Mr 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.”

Mr 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.
  • Travel-restraint systems, industrial rope-access systems, catch platforms and fall arrest harness systems.
  • Using a ladder or administrative controls.

For more information go to worksafe.vic.gov.au.

Further Information

WorkSafe media enquiries: Jeremy Venosta: 0466 733 523, 9641 1434 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Public enquiries: Call the WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089 between 8:30am and 5pm Monday to Friday, email info@worksafe.vic.gov.au or write to Advisory Service, PO Box 4306, Melbourne, 3001.