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Preventing falls no wasted effort

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WorkSafe Victoria has released new guidance material aimed at reducing the number of falls in the waste and recyclables industry.

The guide specifically targets risks associated with falling off the load or truck during the transport of waste and recycled goods.

It is one of a series of falls prevention guides being produced by WorkSafe for the transport industry.

"One of the great things about this guidance material is that it's been developed in consultation with the industry," said WorkSafe's Transport and Storage Industry Program Director Ross Pilkington.

"The Prevention of Falls in the Transport of Waste and Recyclables guide began at a workshop last year which was attended by a number of waste industry transport representatives.

"One of WorkSafe's strongest messages has been that real improvements in workplace safety only occur when everyone works together.

"Just as employers need to talk to their workers about safety issues in their workplace, WorkSafe recognises the benefits of seeking industry feedback on safety problems and solutions that have been developed to counter them."

Mr Pilkington said falls from height remains a major workplace safety issue in the transport industry.

"On average, one person is killed in a fall from a truck every year - and about 150 drivers suffer a serious injury resulting from a fall, said Mr Pilkington.

"About 70% of injuries from truck falls occur after jumping down or falling from the cargo area - and about 13% occur during truck maintenance."

Mr Pilkington said generally, the higher a person was off the ground when they fell, the more serious the injury. However, people had died after falls from heights of less than one metre.

"The fact is any fall can kill or injure. To paint a picture, a 90kg person jumping or falling from a truck cab or tray will hit the ground with a force of more than 420kg," he said.

The Prevention of Falls in the Transport of Waste and Recyclables is broken up into a number of categories, including selecting a suitable vehicle, load planning and access to the vehicle.

The easy-to-read and understand guide details work practices by categorising them into high risk, medium risk and low risk.

The guide can be downloaded from the WorkSafe website, www.worksafe.vic.gov.au

If you do not have access to the web, phone WorkSafe Advisory Service on 1800 136 089.

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