WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Julie Nielsen said basic safety failures had caused the tragic loss of a man’s life. “This death could have easily been avoided if other workers had been warned about the unsafe platform, or if the company had made readily available and cheap modifications to reduce the risk of a fall,” Nielsen said. “Falls from height are one of the biggest killers of Victorian workers and WorkSafe will not hesitate to prosecute employers who do not control the associated risks,” she said.
To prevent similar incidents, WorkSafe Victoria suggested employers: ensure a competent person produces a formwork design capable of supporting the expected dynamic and static loads and have systems in place to formally sign off a formwork deck as structurally sound, complete and safe for other trade workers to use as a work platform. Employers should also provide employees undertaking construction work with site-specific training — including the onsite risks associated with formwork decks — and ensure high-risk construction work is not performed unless a safe work method statement is prepared and followed and use a fall arrest system, such as a catch platform or safety nets.