SafeWork NSW’s Acting Executive Director, Compliance and Dispute Resolution, Meagan McCool has announced the launch of a state-wide working at heights (WAH) safety blitz, aimed at reducing the number of heights-related fatalities and serious injuries in the construction industry.
Falls from heights is the number one killer on NSW construction sites, with most serious and fatal falls being from roofs, ladders and scaffolds – and from a height of 4 metres or less.
Despite targeted interventions in the construction industry over recent years, the number of workers compensation claims and serious injury incidence rates continue to rise. Ladder incidents increased by 34 to 368 major claims in 2020-21.
The WAH blitz visits will coincide with a heights-safety advertising campaign and run until mid-December 2021, with inspectors checking both heights and COVID-19 safety.
What you can do
Businesses can ensure their workers stay safe by:
- Eliminating the need to work from heights where possible
- Using a suitable work platform such as scaffolding, boom lifts or scissor lifts instead of a ladder where you can
- If you have to use a ladder, make sure your A-frame ladder is tall enough – never stand on the top 2 steps, set it up on stable ground, make sure the locking mechanism is in place and don’t lean beyond the styles
- If you have to use an extension ladder, make sure it is set up at 1:4, tie it in place, ensure it is at least one metre higher than the landing, and don’t lean beyond the styles
- Providing adequate edge protection by using jump screens, scaffolding or guardrails – ensuring ALL components are in place
- Ensuring scaffolds are complete at all stages of the build and do not allow unlicenced workers to remove components
- Securely covering and visibly marking, or edge protect, all open penetrations in formwork or concrete slabs
- Providing workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas
- Only using fall restraint or fall arrest systems when edge protection or scaffold is not reasonably practicable.
For more Information
SafeWork has released some working at heights safety resources for industry including:
Small construction businesses can also learn more about our $500 small business rebate program, attend an online safety workshop, or access simple safety tools should visit www.safework.nsw.gov.au or contact 13 10 50.
Construction Services Metropolitan / Regional