Home - Falls from heights still an ongoing safety problem PCBUs must address

UpdatesJul 18, 2019

Falls from heights still an ongoing safety problem PCBUs must address

Falls from heights continues to be one of the most active areas for prosecutions across Australia. It is critical that organisations consider where their workers may face this risk, as well as ensuring controls are implemented to eliminate the potential harm.

By Michael Selinger

Falls from heights continues to be one of the most active areas for prosecutions across Australia. It is critical that organisations consider where their workers may face this risk, as well as ensuring controls are implemented to eliminate the potential harm.

In Victoria, in the last few months alone, the following falls from height matters have come before the courts:

Even though the original contractor was not instructed to do work from the balcony, Mr Hussein Al Moswai was found to be in breach of the safety legislation as he had failed to provide a site specific induction to the workers and also failed to prepare a health and safety coordination plan. Ser Brothers was also fined $8,000 for the same offence.

However, there was no Safe Work Method Statement provided for high risk construction work and so there was not any appropriate fall protection installed, such as anchor points and a work positioning system. There was also no information, instruction or training given by the company to the worker regarding working from such height. The company had already received two compliance notices on another site in 2011, including one notice specifically regarding a falling from height issue.

Falls from heights are an obvious and foreseeable risk of harm, particularly in the construction industry. But the risk can occur in nearly all industries.

Nonetheless, clear and simple controls are often available and can be easily implemented and each business should be able to demonstrate that they have assessed the potential for this risk to affect their workers’ safety, or others involved in their undertaking, as well as demonstrate the steps that have been put in place to manage the risk.

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