Falls are a leading cause of death and serious injuries in Victorian workplaces; this includes falls from ladders from relatively low heights.
- South Yarra - Form worker fell through formwork from level one to ground level, sustaining leg injuries.
- Essendon - Worker fell approximately seven metres off a roof, sustaining serious head and pelvis injuries.
- Camberwell - Worker fell from first storey of a double storey townhouse to the ground. Sustaining lacerations to legs and arm.
- Donnybrook – Worker of pipe laying crew, fell down a sewer pit (approximately two metres) that was covered with cardboard and dirt, sustaining serious leg injuries.
- Glen Waverley – Apprentice plumber installing pipes fell from an eight foot ladder, sustaining a fractured elbow.
- Templestowe – Roof plumber slipped and fell from a steep pitched roof, worker struck the perimeter scaffold and fell over the rails head first to the ground below. Sustained serious head injuries.
- Kew – Worker using a ladder to access within a stair void, fell approximately 1.5 metres.
- Parkdale – Worker slipped and fell off a roof while installing roof sheeting.
- Clyde North – Worker using a step ladder to run wiring, fell from the ladder, hitting his head on concrete slab, sustaining serious lacerations to face.
- Woolamai - Painting contractor using a scaffold around a single storey dwelling fell through a void after two scaffold planks had been removed from the hop-up for other contractors to carry out works. The painter sustained a fractured cheek and broken wrist.
- Cranbourne West - Worker fell off a ladder, hitting his head and sustaining a laceration.
- Tenby Point - Worker fell through the middle of a roof sheet to the lower level, landing on his head. Worker sustained serious head injuries.
- Doncaster East – Worker slipped while climbing from the roof onto an extension ladder at a property being renovated. Worker fell approximately 2.5 metres to the ground, sustaining concussion and a fractured shoulder.
- Brunswick - Worker using a ladder slipped and fell on timber decking, fracturing two vertebrae.
- Drysdale – Worker fell to ground floor when entering an access door on level one. The internal flooring and staircase on level one had been removed.
Employers (including self-employed people) must identify and control the risk of falls from any height. Construction work where there is a risk of a fall from more than two metres is considered high risk work and a Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) is required.
We are asking all employers, principal contractors, contractors and workers, who are undertaking work at height, to review and (if necessary) revise their health and safety coordination plans and SWMS to ensure the effectiveness of the fall prevention control measures at their sites.
With recent rain, sites are becoming more slippery and muddy, increasing the risk of falls. This needs to be considered when assessing and controlling fall risks.
- Eliminate risk by doing all, or some, of the work on the ground or from a solid construction
- Reduce remaining risk by using passive fall prevention devices like scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, elevated work platforms or safety mesh
- Further reduce risk by using travel-restraint systems, industrial rope-access systems, catch platforms and fall arrest harness systems
- Remember, working from a ladder near an edge (e.g. balconies, voids, mezzanines) can greatly increase the fall distance.
Falls are preventable and no workplace death is acceptable. Your workers’ lives rely on the controls that you put in place.
WorkSafe information on prevention of falls from height can be found here
Credit: WorkSafe Victoria Safety SoapBox (06/2017)