Preventing Falls on Construction Sites
The prevention of deaths and injuries caused specifically by falls, are the target of a prevention campaign for Inspectors in Victoria (Australia) during July. Inspectors will be visiting over 1000 construction sites in July and providing information to Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU’s), on their responsibility to control risk.
Statistics for the state show that 21 construction workers have fallen to their death since 2005. These falls account for roughly one third of the causes of death on constructions sites.
In addition, more than 3400 construction workers lodged compensation claims for falls during this time period. Unfortunately too many people who work on construction sites think that it’s someone else’s responsibility to keep them safe. Even the most conscientious and safety-focused worker can pay the ultimate price due to neglect of workplace safety. Their message is that Workplace Safety is everybody’s concern!
WorkSafe Construction Program Manager, Dermot Moody, said “You don’t have to fall from a great height to be killed or suffer permanent injuries, so if inspectors visit a site and find that there is an immediate risk of a fall, work will stop and not be allowed to restart until the site is compliant,” He reiterated that every builder and subcontractor should reassess the effectiveness of their fall prevention control measures. “Don’t assume that because you have never had a fall, your site is working safely. It may just mean you have been lucky – but safety can never be left to chance,”
The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy has identified construction as a priority industry. WorkSafe Victoria has produced a Compliance Code: Prevention of Falls in General Construction. The Code covers:
- Duty-Holder Responsibilities
- Managing Risks to Prevent Falls
- Working at heights less than 2m
- Working at heights above 2m
- Trenching and excavation work
Appendices include other useful documents on:
- A Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) template
- Roof work
- Common fall hazards
It has been established that falls are preventable if employers and workers cooperate with:
- Identifying hazards
- Assessing the risk
- Mitigating the problem
- Monitoring performance
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- Training Management
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Author: Sarah O’Leary and Janine Nicholson for myosh
Victoria’s Safety Blitz
WorkSafe Victoria Compliance Code – Prevention of Falls In General Construction
Safe Work Australia Code of Practice – Preventing Falls in Housing Construction
National Code of Practice for the Prevention of Falls in Housing Construction