Workplace falls continue even during a safety week

Several years ago while visiting a local council with an OHS mentor, a call came through that a worker had fallen over 10 metres through a skylight into a plant room at a commercial swimming pool.  It was the first time I had been on site shortly after a workplace incident and was party to the negotiations and advice between OHS advisers, health & safety representatives and quickly after the event, the CEO.

I am reminded of that day too often when reports come through of workplace falls and deaths.  Workplace incidents do not take a holiday even during Safe Work Australia Week and this year was no different.  Below are a couple of short reports of incidents from last week.  As they did not result in a death, they were unlikely to be reported in the mainstream press.

“A man has fallen through a warehouse roof, dropping eight metres onto concrete at Brunswick [on 30 October 2009].

‘The 24 year old man landed on the concrete and some bicycles that were on the floor,’ according to Intensive care paramedic Kate Cantwell. ‘Even though he had fallen about eight metres, he is extremely lucky that he landed on his arm and side, and not on his head. He has quite a severe fracture to his arm, and possibly a fractured pelvis.”

“A 62-year-old man fell nearly three metres to the ground when he slipped off a ladder in Heidelberg Heights [on 26 October 2009].  Advanced life support paramedics from Oak Park and Epping were called to the residential building site at 11.05am.

Paramedic Haley McCartin said they arrived within eight minutes to find the man lying on the ground in a significant amount of pain.  ‘He suffered a suspected fractured hip and wrist,’ she said.”

Both these cases were posted by the Ambulance Service in Victoria and reinforce that falls in workplaces continue to occur.  Not all falls cause death but falls invariably result in serious injuries.

It is fair to say that gravity continues to be the number one contributory factor to workplace falls.

Kevin Jones

Categories health, height, ladder, OHS, safety, Uncategorized, workplaceTags , ,

4 thoughts on “Workplace falls continue even during a safety week”

  1. Working at heights is \”HIGH RISK\” and therefore our laws should have some detailed process on how to perform your task with no grey area to work outside the guidelines.
    our law makers can not get it right when it comes to working at heights refer to Worksafe Victoia\’s Implementation of the Guidance Note: Fall prevention for scaffolders and
    1. It restates WorkSafe’s longstanding advice on protecting scaffolders from external falls (sequential erection method) and climbing falls (progressive safe access).
    2. It reiterates WorkSafe’s position on the limited use of safety harnesses for the erection and dismantle of scaffold
    3. It recommends a means by which internal falls during placement or removal of scaffold planks can be reasonably controlled (fully decking each lift).
    And States Sequential erection of scaffolding and provision of progressive safe access should be part of current safe systems of work for scaffolders and therefore requires no phase-in.
    So as no scaffold company complies to ledgislation or to the act when working at heights and is recomended they don\’t wear PPE safety Harness & Lanyard as a last line of defence
    Then how do they expect individual scaffold companies to provide a safe system of work to access all levels without putting your employee at risk
    If the people that write our regulations or codes of practice have no idea Then you expect more people working at high risks won\’t change
    For scaffolders their is some hope Look up \”The Gilmark Technique\” on the SIA web site a complete proceedure for scaffolders on how to access all levels and erect and dismantle scaffold while meeting all OHAS requirements

  2. Robert & Martin

    Both your comments focus on the individual but the OHS law, in Australia at least, focuses on the \”system of work\”. Shouldn\’t we be trying to build a working environment where workers can be relaxed AND safe?

    Or do you define \”relaxed\” as \”inattentive\” and \”complacent\”?


  3. Thanks for the info. I think people may become too relaxed and forget the dangers out there. My business is pools and I am always looking to keep my customers safe.

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