On a construction site the actions of one person have far reaching repercussions and affect one or many other workers. Also the inaction of members of the industry can also have negative consequences for workers. As a worker on a construction site you are often at the mercy of one or many co-workers or employer and vice versa, your actions also affect them.
One of the hazards associated with this is that of falling objects – when a worker drops an object from above it may very likely injure or even kill someone below or a workers neglect may result in building materials or equipment falling from one level to the next, injuring people below. Even people in the adjacent areas are at risk. That is why principal contractors must manage these risks effectively.
An incident which took place recently is an example of what can happen if these hazards are’nt addressed. A worker on a construction site in Camperdown, inner Sydney has died after being hit by a number of metal beams.
The incident has attracted alot of attention not just because a worker was fatally injured but because just 2 weeks earlier the CFMEU had made accusations that safety at the Sydney construction site was neglected.
The accident which took place on a renovation project within the former headquarters of the New South Wales Nurses Association, happened just before midday when a 22 year old worker was hit by falling metal beams. The worker sustained injuries to his head and chest and tragically died on the scene.
This incident is particularly eye opening because it highlights the importance of addressing safety issues immediately. This incident could have been avoided if those in control of safety on the site had heeded the warnings of the union, only 2 weeks prior. On a hazardous construction site, proactive safety measures are necessary to avoid incidents. This site was obviously guilty of a number of safety failings and was shut down at Easter because of these safety concerns.
The workers involved in the incident had only been working at the company for about a week and was in Oz on a holiday work VISA. The CFMEU expressed its anger that warnings to the company about safety had been ignored which directly led to the death of the worker.
The incident happened as builders were digging at the bottom of the building and one of the slabs collapsed.
Even if hazards are addressed before work begins, employers should still review safety every so often to ensure that controls are still effective to address hazards and to ensure no new hazards have arisen which threaten worker’s safety.
Every employer has a responsibility to provide workers with a safe work environment and safe system of work, this includes prevention of free falling objects and where fall prevention is not possible a system to arrest falling objects before it can cause injury to workers.