WorkSafe Inspections To Focus on Falling Objects

WorkSafe inspectors continue their focus on falling objects at building sites across Victoria.

WorkSafe has warned that falling objects are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the construction industry and not only do they possess a risk to workers but also to people on the street or nearby work sites.

Over the past 5 years there have been 5 fatalities and 721 injuries caused by falling objects on construction sites.

One incident that took place in January involved a piece of timber falling 22 floors at a Southbank site.

Another incident happened when a piece of MDF sheeting fell through an open window and 63 floors to the ground on Little Latrobe Street.

In another incident a tower crane dropped a 11.5 ton concrete slab at a Clayton construction site.

While these incidents were not fatal and fortunately nobody was injured, they could easily have been, like an incident in September last year when a 48 year old man died when a kibble full of concrete fell from a crane. Another man was seriously injured at the Box Hill construction site.

WorkSafe warned that some of the common causes for falling objects on construction sites include gaps in safety screens, holes in safety netting, kick and toe boards missing in scaffolding, debris and material coming loose while being lifted. The work safety authority also warned that unsecured items stored near edges or exposed to high winds can cause objects to fall.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen reminded us that even small objects can cause serious injury when falling from a high height.

“Every year WorkSafe is notified of hundreds of incidents involving falling objects, which are not only dangerous for workers, but also for members of the public passing by construction sites,” she said.

“Loads being lifted through the air must also be properly secured, and as we saw last year, the consequences can be tragic when a crane drops its load and there are workers below.”

“Risk control measures for falling objects are well known so there is no excuse for employers failing to implement them.”

Source: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/2019-02/worksafe-target-falling-object-dangers

Work Safe went on to describe the steps employers and site duty holders can take to address the risk of falling objects on construction sites,

  • Eliminating the risk through off-site assembly of equipment that would otherwise be performed at an elevated edge.

  • Using containment systems or securing objects through substitution, isolation or engineering controls.

  • Using guardrail systems that incorporate mesh infill panels and kickboards.

  • Isolating the risk with barricades or fencing to create exclusion zones at ground level.

  • Implementing engineering controls such as perimeter safety screens, overhead protection gantries, enclosed perimeter scaffolding, and restraining loose material.

  • Administrative controls such as lines markings and signage to advise lanyard systems are to be used on tools, or to monitor the possibility of windy weather.

Source: https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/news/2019-02/worksafe-target-falling-object-dangers

Falls the Focus of Cross Border Construction Program in Mildura

Source: Pixabay.com

The prevention of falls on construction sites was the recent focus of a joint program by SafeWork NSW and WorkSafe Victoria in Mildura in June.

The Cross Border Construction Program involved inspectors jointly visiting local building sites on both sides of the border to minimise the risk of workers being injured due to falls.

Inspectors were identifying safety risks and breaches and highlighting the similarities and differences between regulations in the 2 states.

Falls are a serious issue for the construction sector. Over the past decade 17 construction workers died due to a fall in Victoria.

In NSW, falls are responsible for the most number of deaths on construction sites. In 2017 the NSW government introduced new laws giving SafeWork NSW inspectors power to issue penalty notices of $3600 to companies and $720 to individuals for fall from height related  breaches.

Falls are just one of the health and safety issues that construction workers are faced with. In this high risk industry, it’s important that health and safety are the main priority.

One of the ways to ensure safety on construction sites is through worker training. Every worker must be adequately trained for the specific construction site and tasks they undertake but they must also be in possession of a White Card to prove they have completed general construction safety training as mandated by the federal government. Complete the White Card course online today and you are eligible to work on any construction site in Australia and across borders because the accreditation is nationally recognised.

Read more at http://www.worksafenews.com.au/news/item/665-falls-the-focus-of-cross-border-safety-program.html

Company and Directors Fined After Worker Falls on Site

A fall at a residential construction site in Darwin and the resulting serious injuries inflicted upon a worker has resulted in 2 companies and their directors being charged by NT WorkSafe.

The incident happened in August 2016 when a 19 year old worker fell almost 3 metres through a void, breaking his left femur.

WorkSafe said there were a number of work from height issues including a lack of fall or edge protection, among other safety issues.

The site was also allegedly unsupervised at the time and the workers on site didn’t speak English fully which resulted in delays getting medical assistance for the injured worker.

This incident once again highlights the importance of work from height safety. Read more at http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/02/charges-laid-young-workers-fall-injuries-darwin/#.Wpg7KOclE1l

Man Airlifted After Ladder Fall

Photo: Pixabay.com

The latest serious ladder incident involved an elderly man working on the roof of his friend’s house near Curra, north of Gympie.

According to reports, the man in his seventies lost his footing and fell, suffering head injuries.

He was treated on the scene before being airlifted via RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital for further treatment.

The man was fortunate to be in a stable condition, but the consequences could have been alot worse.

Although we don’t know the reason for the fall, we do know that falls from ladders accounted for 28 per cent of the fall related hospitalisations between July 2006 and June 2009.

Sadly complacency towards work from heights often leads to incidents like this and worse.

Find out more at: http://content.safetyculture.com.au/news/index.php/10/elderly-man-airlifted-ladder-fall/#.WfXnAIi1vIV