Falling from heights is still one of the biggest causes of injury in the workplace. In 2016 Safe Work Australia statistics show that after motor vehicle accidents, falls from height are the second highest cause of fatalities in the workplace.
Some of the figures produced by Safe Work Australia are listed below. These figures are extracted from a Construction Industry Profile based on figures gathered over a twelve year period to 2013.
- 28% of fatalities in Australia were caused by a fall from a height
- 48% of fatalities in the construction industry were from falls from a height of less than 4 metres
- 72% of fatalities of building & plumbing labourers involved falls from roofs and balconies.
- 49% of fatalities from fall from heights were in the house construction sector
- 2.1 per 1000 employees in the Construction industry recorded a falls-related serious claim
- 21 serious incidents a day. In 2010–11, 7730 claims for serious injury were lodged due to a fall from a height.
There can be no argument that risks when working at height are still being taken in the workplace. The series of photos above were taken on a site in Brisbane. A block of townhouses was being constructed and these builders were spotted installing ceiling panels on the verandah of one of the units.
As is usual with smaller residential constructions the “rules” are bent or ignored in the interest of getting the job done. This work would have not been allowed to proceed on any of the larger sites that have safety advisors onsite. Ironically though…the person in charge of this workplace would be standing in front of the same court in the case of an incident or fatality.