Australia, C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Industry News, News, Safety, South Australia

SafeWork SA reports “alarming” rise in falls from heights

Construction workers wearing safety harness and installing scaffolding at high level in the construction site.

SafeWork South Australia has launched an awareness campaign around falls from heights following an “alarming” rise in serious injuries.

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The state’s workplace health and safety regulator today revealed that 2023 saw a 36 per cent increase in the number of serious workplace injuries caused by falling from heights across all industries compared to the previous year.

The falls prevention campaign coincides with the release of Safework SA’s 2023 Health and Safety Snapshot of the construction industry. Of the 105 serious injuries sustained in workplace falls in 2023, more than half involved construction workers, five times more than any other industry. There were 58 serious injuries in construction, including 36 in the residential sector, and 10 involving apprentices.

“SafeWork SA provides a comprehensive range of tools, resources and support to the construction industry so it can keep its workers safe,” said SafeWork SA Executive Director, Glenn Farrell. “We will be carefully monitoring the safety performance of the residential sector in particular and looking for significant improvements.

“I congratulate the businesses that are doing the right thing and encourage them to maintain high standards.”

According to the body, inspectors will visit construction sites and continue to monitor compliance with managing the risk of falls. They will also remind workers, businesses, contractors and managers about their legal obligations to identify and manage hazards.

To support this, SafeWork SA is providing access to a new interactive tool created by Safe Work Australia to guide businesses and workers through the process of formally documenting risks and controls for each project, including working at height.

SafeWork SA identified 399 non-compliances across all industries in 2023, with construction accounting for 89 per cent.

Outside of construction, falls from heights accounted for 11 serious injuries in manufacturing, eight in transport, postal and warehousing, eight in agriculture, forestry and fishing four in mining with the remainder attributed to other sectors including health care, arts and recreation and retail.

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