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Date PostedJuly 18, 2012

White Card Update: Construction Worker Hit by Falling Glass

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According to a report on Examiner.com.au a construction worker lies critical in hospital after being hit by a sheet of falling glass outside a Hospital Construction site. The man was working as a glazier when the incident occurred and the man had to be treated for severe lacerations. He is still in a critical condition but has stabilised since yesterday.

The post goes on to state:

A CONSTRUCTION worker is in a critical condition after being crushed by a sheet of glass outside the Launceston General Hospital yesterday.

 The glazier was working on the hospital’s new integrated care centre in Frankland Street when the glass fell on him.

 Ambulance Tasmania received the call around 10am, and treated the man for severe lacerations.

A hospital spokeswoman said he also suffered multiple fractures and internal injuries, and was taken to the emergency department in a serious condition.

 By yesterday afternoon his condition had deteriorated, and he was listed as critical but stable.

The hospital’s occupational health and safety officers attended but work continued at the construction site, which is managed by Fairbrother. The company’s general manager Peter Killick said he could not comment on the accident because the worker was a subcontractor from an interstate firm.

Workplace Standards, which is investigating the incident, said the man was employed by Hi Tech Glazing.

http://www.examiner.com.au/news/local/news/general/lgh-worker-critical-as-glass-plunges/2262249.aspx

The worker in this incident is lucky to alive, considering the dangerous nature of glass and the seriousness of the lacerations he received. Unfortunately another worker this year was not as lucky. Earlier this year a teenage worker was killed by a falling excavator bucket on an Australian construction site in Sydney. The incident was made more sad by the fact that the worker was a young apprentice at the beginning of his life when it was cut short by safety breaches on the site.

These two occurrences although tragic highlight the need for stricter adherence to safety measures on site. Falling objects present a very real danger to construction workers and need to be addressed on every construction work site. All employees need to take the necessary precautions to avoid objects falling and hitting other people on site and adjoining areas, such as dwellings, yards, or roads beside the construction site.

Possible falling hazards are objects such as tools and materials, debris and other equipment that has the potential to fall from a workstation or platform or into a trench and potentially injure a worker or passer-by.

Both employers and employees have a responsibility to assess the risk of objects falling and injuring workers. Controls must be used to reduce these risks. Safety controls need to be in accordance with regulation standards.

Possible measures that can be undertaken to minimise the risk of injury from falling objects include :

  • Barricade or hoarding at least 900mm high less than or equal to 15 degrees,
  • hoarding at least 1800mm high greater than 15 degrees and less than or equal to 30 degrees,
  • Another possible solution may be using fully sheeted hoarding at least 1800mm high greater than 30 degrees.
  • If the angle is equal to or more than 75 degrees and not demolition work, erecting work or dismantling formwork you should erect a gantry, close the adjoining area, ◦erect a catch platform with vertical sheeting or perimeter screening. 
  • For demolition work or work to erect or dismantle formwork, the principal contractor must close the adjoining area, or screening containment can be erected on the perimeter.

As an employee there are certain basic steps that can be followed to minimise the risk of injury from falling hazards. Some of the basic guidelines to follow are:

  • Use fences and barricades to separate the hazard from other workers and people
  • Use the appropriate signs to warn of the danger of falling objects
  • Install safety nets where necessary to catch falling objects or debris
  • Keep tools in the appropriate place or toolbox and not lying around the ground
  • Ensure materials are properly secured  when moving or lifting

While it may be too late for the workers injured in these instances adherence to safety planning and regulation can assure that other workers on construction sites avoid the same fate.

 

Posted by Steven Asnicar

Steven Asnicar is regarded as a leader across many fields of industry. In particular, his specialisation across the health, infrastructure, construction, resource and utility sectors has seen him successfully change the dynamics of these industries through the introduction of new strategic, marketing, training and technical frameworks. Steven works closely with industry peak bodies such as Safework Australia, Australian Logistics Council, National Advisory for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment (NATESE) and the Council of Australian Governments in the development of new delivery standards and industry specific programs.

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