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Date PostedSeptember 23, 2012

Building Site Apprentice critical after worksite fall

Source : GilbertoFilho

Another shocking incident occurred on a Canberra building site which has left a young worker critical in hospital after sustaining a fall. The worker, a 20 year old apprentice, fell five meters causing him to sustain serious head injuries.

The apprentice was conducting maintenance on a garage roller door on Wednesday afternoon last week when he received an electric shock causing him to fall off the ladder 5m to the ground.

The incident has highlighted the need for greater safety on Canberra building sites following the inquiry by the ACT government into safety in the industry. This is the fourth incident of this nature to occur on a building site in the ACT since December last year and has caused the site to be shut down by WorkSafe.

This report on Abc.net.au details the incident:

The man was working for a company contracted by the ACT Government to carry out maintenance on the site at the old bus depot on Dundas Street in Phillip.

The site is being leased by a car detailing company.

WorkSafe ACT has shut down the work site.

The accident happened just hours after the construction union staged a rally in Civic calling on the ACT Government to improve worker safety on construction sites.

Police and WorkSafe ACT are investigating.

Work safety commissioner Mark McCabe says it is an extremely serious incident.

“Some people have said to me ‘will it become more serious if the condition of the worker worsens?’,” he said.

“It will from a human point of view. From our point of view it’s a serious incident already. It could very easily have led to a much worse circumstance than it is as the moment. It’s up there with the highest of incidents.”

The Electrical Trades Union is seeking more details about the accident.

Spokesman Neville Betts says the union wants to know whether the apprentice was properly supervised.

Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-09-20/canberra-worksite-accident/4271826?section=act

There are 2 major safety issues that this incident highlights. The first is the need for greater safety when working from heights, on ladders, scaffolds, roofs etc. The second issue is the need for inexperienced workers to be supervised, especially when undertaking dangerous task such as work from heights.

Supervisors need to keep an extra eye on inexperienced workers such as apprentices until the complete their training.

Workers undertaking work from ladders should always follow these safety guidelines to minimise risk of falling or injury:

  • Always face the ladder when going up or down.
  • You should stand on a rung that is at least 900mm from the top of a single or extension ladder.
  • Always stand on or below the second rung below the top plate of any stepladder.
  • When hoisting tools to the top in bucket once you have climbed to the top and not carried in your hands
  • Both hands should be kept on the ladder at all times
  • Make sure the ladder is properly secured before climbing
  • Another important factor is that ladders are properly maintained and should have no missing rungs etc.

When undertaking electrical work, extra fall protection should be used to prevent an incident of this nature occurring.


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.

Posted in Blue Card, General Construction, White Card, White Card Construction Site Safety Articles Tagged with: , , , ,


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