Almost daily we hear of a worker on some or the other work site experiencing a fall while working from a height, some incidents resulting in minor injuries, some serious and even life threatening injuries. So it is no wonder that WorkSafe ACT has launched a safety campaign to tackle the issue.
WorkSafe ACT launched a safety campaign to target construction workers use of ladders and those working from heights on scaffolding. The campaign was prompted by numerous falls that occurred over the course of the past year which resulted in serious injuries.
The campaign saw WorkSafe inspectors over the period of one week, visiting various residential housing sites in order to check on safety of workers at heights. Inspectors also provided workers with education regarding the dangers of falls and the need for safety when working from heights, even work from relatively low heights.
According to the ACT Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe, an independent inquiry into last year’s construction safety in the state indicated that falls from heights were the leading cause of serious injuries. Not surprisingly Safe Work Australia also identified falls from heights as the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry in Oz.
Ladders were identified as the main concern and were shown to contribute to half of all construction fatalities resulting from a fall from a height.
Although the approach of inspectors was mainly to educate, spot fines were also issued for any breaches in work from height safety.
According to WorkSafe ACT the focus of the campaign is to highlight working safely at height which will hopefully lead to a better understanding of the requirements in this area, which in turn will hopefully result in a higher level of compliance with those requirements in the future.
A post on SafetyCulture.com.au explains further:
Safe Work Australia also identified falls from heights as the leading cause of fatalities and a major cause of serious injuries in the industry throughout the country.
”Nationally, ladders, in particular, have been involved in nearly half of the construction fatalities resulting from working at height,” Mr McCabe said. ”We have seen a number of serious injuries here in the ACT recently which have involved falls from ladders. Several of the workers involved in those incidents have been very lucky not to have sustained even more serious injuries than they did. This inspection program will help the industry focus their attention on this specific high-risk activity.”
He said the aim of the program was to ensure both employers and workers were doing the right thing.
Inspectors would promote awareness of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and associated regulations, as well as checking the level of compliance on sites where working at height was required.
”Generally, our inspectors will take an educative approach in their discussions. More serious issues, however, may lead to formal notices such as improvement or prohibition notices,” Mr McCabe said.
Any person conducting a business or undertaking have a primary duty to ensure as far as reasonably practicable, that workers and other people are not exposed to health and safety risks such as falls.
In addition to ensuring fall hazards are managed, employers also have a responsibility to ensure that workers undergo White Card training to teach them how to overcome fall hazards as well as other hazards that they may be faced with on a construction site.
Visit www.whitecardonline.com.au for more information on the White Card Course or to register.