WorkSafe Victoria will begin an inspection program for housing construction companies, after 40 serious incidents involving falls at construction sites were reported to the regulator since 1 February this year, demonstrating a high risk of falls.
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 meters through a void at Fawkner.
- A man who received concussion after falling 2.4 meters when a truss gave way at a site in Caulfield North.
WorkSafe Victoria inspectors will be focusing on fall hazards in an effort to reduce the number of workers injured at housing construction sites.
Falls were an ongoing issue within the housing construction sector, said WorkSafe Victoria acting head of hazardous industries and industry practice, Dermot Moody.
“Even a fall from a low height can still lead to serious injury or a death,” 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.”
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 risks of falls 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, while the remaining risk of falls 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.
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