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Working From Heights Blitz Puts Employers On Notice

12 February 2020

The Andrews Labor Government is warning employers not to become complacent about the dangers of working from heights, warning they will be held accountable for putting workers lives at risk.

WorkSafe Victoria inspectors have been targeting work sites since November, with a focus on fall prevention, scaffolding safety and ladder use in the construction industry, after two fall-related fatalities and a number of serious incidents last year.

Since November, WorkSafe inspectors have completed more than 220 checklists in visits to domestic and commercial construction sites, with falls from height compliance issues identified in almost every list.

More than 75 enforcement notices have been issued, with three quarters of those relating to uncontrolled fall risks and height related safety failures, including 14 scaffolding issues.

There were also 23 directions to cease work due to the immediate risk to workers health and safety.

One of most serious non-compliance issues inspectors identified was at a commercial site where inadequate fall protection left workers at risk of falling 60 metres.

Other identified safety failures include scaffolding that was not secured to buildings, broken ladders being used and workers at risk of falling into open stair voids.

In a further 61 instances, non-compliance issues such as out of date safe work method statements and faulty equipment were able to be fixed while WorkSafe inspectors were still on site.

Already this year WorkSafe has been notified of nine workers seriously injured in falls at construction sites.

In the most recent incident five workers were injured when scaffolding collapsed at a residential development in Craigieburn.

WorkSafe inspectors will continue to visit sites and target fall prevention and scaffolding safety issues across the construction industry.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Workplace Safety Jill Hennessy

“The construction industry is growing across all sectors and it is essential the health and safety of workers remains a priority on every worksite.”

“Already this year a number of workers have been seriously injured in falls at construction sites in incidents that could have been avoided.”

“It is every employer’s responsibility to keep their workers safe or face the full consequences of the law.”

Reviewed 30 July 2020

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