Preventing falls from height is a major concern for construction companies, as a high number of injuries and deaths in the industry could have been prevented with an up-to-date, more effective fall prevention strategy.
In an ideal workplace, no one should have to fall from edges, through an opening, a fragile surface, or even from ground level. This is easier said than done, but a good place to start is for employers, employees and self-employed contractors to ensure the workplace is safe when placing employees or themselves above ground or floor level. They should also check that adequate training is undertaken so that everyone knows how to spot hazards and unsafe situations.
In Australia, employers are required to provide these types of training if the job requires workers to be working at height. Yet, falls when working at height account for most of the serious claims reported in 2007-08 to 2011-12 in the Australian construction industry. In fact, 26% of all workplace claims in the industry involved trips, slips and falls from heights or falls from same levels, usually resulting in fractures to arms, hands or chest.
In the same period, 51 workplace fatalities involved falls from height. Of these, 18 involved falling from buildings, 15 involved ladders and 8 involved scaffolding.
Preventing falls from height should therefore be on every company and contractor’s action plan if their work involves operating from any elevated platform, roof, vehicle or tree. Having it on an action plan for a team would help raise awareness about working at heights and safe use of ladders.
Here are some points to consider when creating a strategy around how to raise awareness and contribute to workplace safety:
- Include provision of refresher courses in your workplace health and safety strategy
- Show good leadership by attending the same training as your employees, and leading by example in the workplace
- Develop capability by offering employees training each time their duties change
- Build knowledge of working at heights by placing information in obvious places
- Show support by listening to employee concerns when they start discussions on hazards
- Meet with other companies to see what they are doing in regards to health and safety
- Join industry groups or committees that focus on health and safety
- Make a pledge to play an active role in influencing improved health and safety outcomes at work
- Work towards achieving zero harm in your workplace.
If you’re looking to refresh your own skills and knowledge around working at heights, check out our refresher course here. We also offer an online qualification for Working at Heights, which you can read more about here.
If you or your employees require training in the following, they can get started online without delay. Our online courses are designed for people seeking flexibility and opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills in their own time and at their own pace.
Feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements in more detail.
Statistics from: safeworkaustralia.gov.au