The recent death of a man in South Perth who fell from a cherry picker highlights the need for fall protection in the work place.
Aurenda believes fall protection is a simple and effective measure that is vital on every single construction work site in this country. Occupational health and safety in this industry is not a suggestion or something that can be ignored or forgotten because the risks are too great. Not only will members of this industry find themselves in dire economic trouble if they fail to follow the guidelines, the risk of debilitating injury or death is simply too great.
A few cases recently have highlighted the need and sometimes lack of fall protection equipment.
Just recently a NSW court has fined a company and its director after for a young new worker’s death. Despite requiring workers to wear a harness and lanyard when working at heights, a specialist demolition company failed to ensure the fall protection was anchored before workers were exposed to risk. The Court heard that in August 2007, the company began to dismantle the roof of a single-storey suburban house. Workers made an access point through the bathroom ceiling near the edge of the roof, but then had to climb unsecured up the roofing tiles to anchor their lanyards at the ridge board. An experienced worker already at the peak said he saw the new labourer move out onto the tiles, but did not see him fall. The injured worker sustained traumatic head injuries and fractured ribs, and died in hospital six days later.
Another incident occurred in Victoria where fall protection failed to be implemented, caused enormous economic fallout, as well the serious injury of an apprentice. The accident, which occurred in 2010 has only just been resolved. It occurred when four construction workers, including three apprentices, were replacing storm damaged roof tiles on a property. The 2.4 metre high rooftop working space didn’t not have the required guard rails installed, so when one of the apprentices lost his footing, he fell to ground, at which point cement splashed in his eye. While the fall itself did not hurt the apprentice, the cement damage which caused a number of following events, eventually lost him his sight in his left eye.
WorkCover NSW fined three companies over an accident involving serious injuries suffered by a 21 year old man who fell 14 meters off a scaffold at a paper mill. In that incident, safety practices across the entire project were questioned after the man fell through a 430mm gap between the scaffolding and wood chip machine.