Although falling has been identified as the number one cause of death on construction sites, it seems that workers and contractors are still not paying enough attention to overcoming this hazard, if the number of current fall incidents still occurring each day, are anything to go by.
The latest incident involved a 66 year old worker who fell from a roof which he was working on and died, early Thursday morning. The man suffered severe injuries to the face and died shortly after.
Although not much is known about the incident and what caused the fall, working from any height above 2 metres requires fall protection because it could result in serious injury or death. This should have been recognised and managed by the site’s principal contractor or the man’s employer.
Read what this post on SafetyCulture.com.au had to say about the tragic incident:
WorkSafe Victoria will be investigating an incident where a worker died after falling from a roof in Horsham Victoria.
The 66-year-old male worker fell from a roof that he was working on at approximately 8:30 am last Thursday morning.
Paramedics were called to treat the man at a Dollar Ave address for severe facial injuries and he died later.
Police will also be writing a report for the coroner.
When working from a rooftop or any height workers need to be cautious. Australianregulation requires an approved safety system should be implemented, including guardrails, scaffolding and fall protection. If these measures do not sufficiently reduce the risk workers should be equipped with proper safety harnesses.
Management of the risks can significantly reduce the number of deaths caused by falling. The following is an example of the steps that could be followed:
- Step 1: Identify the hazards
This could include for example, working on a slippery or unstable surface or an elevated level or from a fragile roof.
- Step 2: Assess the risk by taking the following elements into account:
– Height at which the task is being performed
– Condition of the supporting surface, in this case the roof
– Amount of experience the worker involved has dealing with this type of hazardous work
– Weather conditions of outdoor sites or duration of the hazardous task being undertaken
- Step 3: Control the risk: Fall protection measures should be developed to suit the particular task and the severity of the risk. In developing emergency procedures, the different types of emergency and rescue scenarios that might arise should be considered.
Try first to eliminate the hazard. Working on the ground is the most effective method of protecting workers from fall hazards. This is not always possible, so the hazard has to be managed.
Then attempt to substitute the work with a safer work surface. Use temporary work platforms such as properly erected scaffolds or elevated work platforms. Isolate the hazard by using physical barriers to protect workers from falls.
Adopt engineering controls. Use “work positioning” systems that will position and safely support a worker at the location where the task is to be performed.
It is unlikely that the construction site controllers in the incident above followed these procedures, so to avoid any nasty accidents like this one, be prepared and remember to always put safety before productivity.