WorkSafe Victoria has said it will be conducting a construction site safety blitz with a focus on falls from heights.
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Announcing the news via its weekly publication, the government body said, on top of its inspectors being out in force on a daily basis, it would be targeting falls from heights specifically from 19 February, 2024, through to 4 March, 2024, in a fortnight-long operation. The construction site safety blitz comes after data published by WorkSafe showed that 18 fatalities in the construction industry were caused by a fall from height over the past five years, with 7395 workers being seriously injured in workplace falls over the same time period.
After the original data was published in May 2023, WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety, Narelle Beer, said that it was never okay to take shortcuts when working at heights.
“A fall can happen in just seconds, but the consequences can last a lifetime, including devastating injuries and loss of life,” Dr Beer said. “Yet despite the well-known risks, we still see things like workers on a roof without fall protection, harnesses not attached to an anchor point, poorly installed scaffolding, platforms without guard rails, unprotected voids and unsafe ladders.”
According to WorkSafe, employer can prevent falls from height by eliminating the risk by doing all or some of the work on the ground or from a solid construction, using a passive fall prevention device such as scaffolds, perimeter screens, guardrails, safety mesh or elevating work platforms, using a positioning system, such as a travel-restraint system, to ensure employees work within a safe area, and using a fall arrest system, such as a harness, catch platform or safety nets, to limit the risk of injuries in the event of a fall.
WorkSafe Victoria is also stressing the importance of properly training young workers in lieu of the skills shortage, with Jobs and Skills Australia identifying 50 per cent of occupations within the category of Technicians and Trade Workers facing a national skills shortage.
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