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Workplace health and safety regulators join to target falls prevention

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Workplace health and safety regulators across Australia and New Zealand are joining forces to target falls prevention in the construction industry particularly small and medium-sized projects.

Site inspections will be carried out in February and March next year.

Falls prevention is a priority focus area for Australia’s workplace safety authorities as they are the single-biggest cause of workplace deaths in the construction industry.

“You don’t have to fall from a great height to be killed, end up in a wheel chair or with brain damage,” Heads of Workplace Safety Authorities (HWSA) chair, John Watson, said.

“There have been deaths from falls considerably less than two metres. Frequently it is the employer themselves.”

“For the sake of those doing the job, their families and workmates, as well as your business, fix falls risks now.”

“By announcing the campaign now, we expect all building trades which work at height to review their work procedures and, if necessary, introduce safer systems of work before inspectors visit,”

Builders, renderers, plumbers, electricians, roof tilers and other trades are at risk of serious injury if fall prevention measures are not taken.

“In the past three years there have seen eight deaths and 1,070 compensated injuries due to falls from height in Victoria’s construction sector.

“Don’t assume that because you’re never had an injury you’re working safely. It might just mean you’ve been lucky,” Watson said.

All health and safety regulators produce publications and guidance material which is available in printed form or as electronic documents on their websites. They can also be contacted for general falls prevention advice.

Victorian safety information is available from Worksafe Victoria.

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