What you need to know
Falls from heights is the leading cause of fatalities on NSW construction sites.
For October Safety Month 2019, SafeWork will be blitzing NSW construction sites to secure compliance and talk with employers and workers about how to work safely at heights. Use this checklist to find out if your construction site is working at heights safely.
What you can do
Most falls in construction occur from ladders, scaffolds and roofs, with the most at-risk occupations being painters, electricians, labourers, carpenters and plumbers.
Here are some practical tips when working at heights:
- Eliminate the need to work from heights where possible
- Use a suitable working platform such as scaffolding, boom lifts or scissor lifts
- Provide adequate edge protection by using jump screens, scaffolding or guardrails - ensuring ALL components are in place
- Ensure scaffolds are installed, regularly inspected and maintained by a competent person, and that a handover certificate is provided prior to use
- Prevent unauthorised access to the scaffold while the scaffold is incomplete
- Provide workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas, such as scaffold stairs
- Only use fall restraint or fall arrest systems when edge protection or work platforms are not reasonably practicable
- Many falls take place when people are using ladders. You should consider whether a platform ladder, elevating work platform or scaffolding could be used instead. If using a step ladder, never work from the top two steps and always secure your extension ladder.
- Securely cover and visibly mark, or edge protect, all open voids in formwork or concrete slabs
Risks of falls
Falls from heights are the leading cause of traumatic fatalities in the NSW construction industry. Watch our safety video to learn about managing the risks of falls during a solar installation.
Where to get help
- Pocket guide to construction safety – or order your weatherproof flip book with safety checklists from the publications hotline 1300 799 003
- Scaffold safety checklist for site supervisors
- Construction falls from heights blitz checklist
- Falls from heights poster – Arabic, Chinese simplified
- Erecting, altering and dismantling scaffolds
- Safety alerts
- Incident information releases
- Working at heights - SafeWork NSW webpage
- Watch this video on safe use of ladders