Incident information releases

Incident Information Releases inform industry and the NSW Community about work health and safety incidents with the intention of preventing similar occurrences and provide information to assist PCBU’s and workers meet their Work Health and Safety obligations.

SafeWork NSW has a number of functions outlined in the NSW Work Health and Safety Act. One such function is to “provide advice and information on work health and safety to duty holders under this Act and to the community.”

SafeWork NSW undertakes a range of communication activities in relation to workplace incidents including the development and distribution of safety and incident alerts, guidance material and court outcomes.

SafeWork NSW develops Incident Information Releases to inform duty holders, workers and the NSW Community about work health and safety incidents with the intention of preventing similar occurrences. SafeWork NSW expects duty holders will be in a position to use information provided within Incident Information Releases to assist in reviewing their risk management approach and systems of work, in consultation with relevant workers.

2019 releases

Excavator incident 12 February 2019

Incident date

12/02/2019

Event

Bucket of excavator being loaded onto a truck hit worker

Location

Macquarie Fields

Incident Overview

While loading an excavator onto the back of a truck, a worker who was strapping down the excavator was struck by a falling object. As the operator of the excavator moved the bucket a smaller bucket inside it toppled out and struck the worker. The worker sustained injuries to his head, back and leg.


Image: The site where work was being done.


Image: The site where work was being done.

The site

The site is located at Macquarie Fields. Work being done at the site includes earth moving and construction work.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in line with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017. Each year SafeWork NSW responds to incidents where workers have been injured while using earth moving equipment. Workers in the construction industry are commonly injured; however any worker using earth moving machinery is at risk. Businesses are reminded to consider reasonably practicable control measures to manage the risk of injury while operating, or working near, earth moving machinery. Clear, established lines of communication between the operators of plant and nearby workers is vital, and should be implemented with control measures such as barriers, exclusion zones and traffic management. Workers should be trained and supervised when working closely with plant, and all maintenance should be done by competent, accredited people.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:
Excavation work Code of Practice
Moving Plant on Construction Sites: Code of Practice
Safety Alert – Working with or around mobile plant

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious injury in the earth moving industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available. The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall from heights 5 February 2019

Incident date

5/02/2019

Event

Fall from heights landing on reinforcing bar

Location

Gosford

Incident Overview

A 32 year old male worker was doing formwork at a multi-storey construction site in Gosford and fell approximately 2.8 metres. He landed on a reinforcing bar and his leg was impaled.

Construction site where work was being done

The site

The site is located at Gosford. Work being done at the site includes formwork for a multi-storey residential construction.

The investigation

  • SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.
  • SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in line with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 .

Each year SafeWork NSW responds to incidents where workers have been injured as a result of falls from heights. Most of these incidents involve open penetrations on formwork decks and unprotected edges/voids.

Workers in the construction industry are most commonly injured; however any worker working at heights is at risk.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonably practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls from heights by ensuring open penetrations are covered and covers are secured.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a fatality/serious injury/serious incident in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

2018 releases

Fall From Height 12 December 2018

Incident date

12 December 2018

Event

Fall from height

Location

Denham Court

Incident Overview

A worker fell from a height while installing roof & guttering on a house in Denham Court, sustaining hand and shoulder injuries.

SafeWork NSW and NSW Police responded to the incident to investigate and make the site safe.

the location on the site the worker fell through
the location on the site the worker fell through

The site

The site is located at Denham Court. Activities being done on the site included the construction of a two storey home. The site is under the control of a principal contractor. A sub-contractor had been engaged to install box guttering and roofing.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on our approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in line with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW responds to incidents where workers have been exposed to risks associated withfalls from heights. Most of these incidents involve unprotected edges or voids.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonable and practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls from heights including:

  • Remove the need to work from heights where possible;
  • Use a suitable working platform such as scaffolds, boom lifts or scissor lifts;
  • Provide adequate edge protection by using guardrails or perimeter scaffolding;
  • Ensure scaffolds are inspected every 30 days and a handover certificate is issued;
  • Prevent people accessing incomplete scaffolds;
  • Ensure penetrations/voids are covered and clearly marked or have edge protection
  • Provide workers with safe means of accessing and exiting work areas;
  • Ensure ladders are secured and extend 1m past the landing; and
  • Only use fall restraint or fall arrest systems when edge protection or work platforms are not reasonably practicable.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

SafeWork NSW has issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious injury in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of SafeWork NSW or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall through void 17 November 2018

Incident date

17/11/2018

Event

Fall from heights through open penetration/void

Location

Green Valley

Incident Overview

A 29-year-old male air conditioning mechanic fell from the first floor of a residential construction site through a stair void. The worker suffered fatal head and neck injuries.

The site

The site is located at Green Valley. Activities undertaken at the site include the construction of a two-story residence.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on our approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW respond to incidents where workers have been killed or seriously injured from falls from heights. Many of these incidents involve falling through penetrations.

Workers in the construction industry are most commonly injured from falling; however, any worker, working at height is at risk.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonably practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls.

Before commencing work a business must:

  • provide edge protection on all open edges where a worker can fall e.g. guardrails comprising top-rail, mid-rail and toe boards.
  • cover stair voids with covers designed to withstand likely impact and static loads and fixed to prevent any dislodgement or accidental removal.
  • provide workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a fatality in the Construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release.

Contact with electricity 6 November 2018

Incident date

6/11/2018

Event

Electric Shock

Location

Guildford

Incident Overview

A 36-year-old worker was installing a steel reinforcement bar into a wall cavity on a construction site. While attempting to position the reinforcement bar to insert into the cavity, it extended past the edge of the scaffold and touched high voltage powerlines. The worker received serious injuries.

SafeWork NSW, NSW Police Force and other Emergency Services responded to the incident.

Pic 1: Construction site where work was being done – noting red lines indicate where the power lines were located.
Image 1 (left): Construction site where work was being done – noting red lines indicate where the power lines were located. Image 2: (right) Lidar scan image, showing construction site and power lines where work was being done.

The site

The site is located at Guildford. Work being done at the site involves the construction of a low-rise apartment building.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on our approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW responds to many incidents where workers are seriously injured from coming in to contact with or working too close to overhead power lines where a ‘flashover or arc’ occurs. Workers can come in to contact with electric lines directly or indirectly through materials being handled or plant being operated near overhead power lines. Regardless of the voltage, which can be as high as 500,000 volts or as low as 230 volts, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Businesses and workers in the construction industry are reminded of the increased risks when working near overhead power lines. Businesses must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that no person, plant or thing at the workplace comes within an unsafe distance of an overhead power line. If it is not reasonably practicable to ensure the safe distance of a person, plant or thing from an overhead or underground power line, the person conducting the business or undertaking at the workplace must make sure that:

  1. a risk assessment is done in relation to the proposed work, and
  2. control measures that are put in place are consistent with:
    1. the risk assessment, and
    2. if an electricity supply authority is responsible for the power line, any requirements of the authority.

Note the requirements in the AS/NZS 4576 of a 4 metre approach distance for metallic scaffolding used near overhead power lines – where any scaffolding, hand held tools, equipment or materials may come within this 4 metre approach distance, a hazard identification and written risk assessment must be undertaken and measures undertaken to control risks to persons.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious injuryserious injuryserious injury in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and more information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to make sure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Falling object from construction site 29 October 2018

Incident date

29/10/2018

Event

Prefabricated concrete panel fall on construction site

Location

Bexley

Incident Overview

A 21 tonne, right angle shaped, prefabricated concrete panel was being lifted by a tower crane and a mobile crane in a dual lift. The panel was approximately 9.3 metres long by 2.5 metres wide.

As the panel was being lifted into position the lifting equipment and/or lifting point failed and the panel suddenly dropped. The reason for the failure is not yet known.

A hoist rope was damaged in the incident and the cranes were subjected to shock loading. Debris from the incident landed in a public area next to the site. There were no reported injuries.

SafeWork NSW, NSW Police Force, Fire and Rescue NSW and Public Works Engineers responded to the incident.

Image: A prefabricated concrete panel that dropped during installation.

Image: A prefabricated concrete panel that dropped during installation.

The site

The site is in Bexley. Work being done at the site is part of the West Connex motorway project.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on our approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Principal Contactors and other businesses working in construction have additional and specific duties under Work Health and Safety (WHS) legislation. Those duties extend to the care of both workers and others – including members of the public. Businesses need to provide and maintain safe plant and structures such as lifts and cranes, and risks related to structures collapsing or objects falling need to be managed..

The loads applied to prefabricated concrete elements during lifting depend on many factors. These include the orientation of the concrete element, the size and shape of the element and its centre of gravity, the location and capacity of the lifting points, and the lifting equipment and method used.

The force applied to a crane and lifting equipment can change a lot during a lift. An erection plan is needed to make sure the crane, lifting equipment and concrete element can withstand the applied loads.

The erection plan should be developed in consultation with relevant contractors, including the concrete element prefabricator. It should include drawings that have details on the types and locations of all lifting / bracing / fixing inserts and any component reinforcing.

Documents about the erection plan should be available on site. They should specify the erection sequence and orientation, the correct lifting points, clutches and the rigging details/configuration.

Lifting inserts and clutches must be compatible with each other - seek advice from the item manufacturer if you are unsure. Cranes with sufficient size to use the specified rigging and sling angles, and capacity to handle the calculated load share, must be used.

Before lifting anything, make sure the concrete has reached the required strength and the lift can be done as described in the erection plan. Do not deviate from the erection plan, without agreement of the erection designer.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Hit by prefabricated concrete panel 13 September 2018

Incident date

13/09/2018

Event

Hit by falling object

Location

Seven Hills

Incident overview

A 10 tonne prefabricated concrete panel approximately 12m in length and 2.1m in width was being lifted off a truck using a crane and was to be rotated mid-air and moved into position as part of constructing a commercial premises. However, as it was being lifted it broke into pieces, striking and injuring a 50 year old worker assisting with the lift.

NSW Police and Ambulance responded to the incident and the worker was conveyed to hospital and received treatment for his injuries.

The pre-fabricated concrete panel which broke into pieces when being raised into place.
View of the pre-fabricated concrete panel which broke into pieces when being raised into place.

The site

The site is located at Seven Hills. The activity being undertaken at the time was the construction of a commercial premises using prefabricated concrete panels. The site is under the control of a principal contractor with several sub-contractors working onsite.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Tilt-up and pre-cast panels must be designed for both erection loads and for loadings experienced when they make up part of the completed building or structure (i.e. ‘in-service loads’). The loads applied to the panel during lifting off the casting bed, transport, handling, erection, and while the panels are temporarily braced are different from loads applied when part of the final structure. The erection designer(s) must therefore design the panel for all types of loading.  Erection crews must then ensure panels are lifted and braced in the manner specified by the erection designer(s).

Tilt-up panels should only be lifted when the concrete has cured long enough to attain the minimum required concrete strength specified by the lifting insert supplier. The minimum concrete strength for most proprietary brand lifting inserts is 25 MPa. Some inserts may require a higher strength than 25 MPa.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a fatality/serious injury/serious incident in the prefabricated concrete industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall through penetration 11 September 2018

Incident date

11/09/2018

Event

Fall through penetration

Location

Castle Hill

Incident overview

A 28-year-old bricklayer was undertaking work in a plant room of a major tunnel and civil infrastructure works project.  He stood on the temporary platform covering a penetration which has shifted under his weight causing him to fall 7.1 metres to the concourse level below. The worker sustained a broken left femur, tibia, fibula and a broken left shoulder.

SafeWork NSW and NSW Ambulance responded to the incident and the worker was conveyed to hospital and received treatment for his injuries.

Pic 1 & 2. View of open penetration from the plant room where the worker has fallen through and view from the level below looking up at the opening.
Image 1 & 2. View of open penetration from the plant room where the worker has fallen through and view from the level below looking up at the opening.

The site

The site is located at Castle Hill. Activities undertaken at the site include the construction of twin tunnels that will form part of the Sydney Metro Northwest automated rail system. The site is under the control of a principal contractor that is under the Comcare scheme with multiple sub-contractors working onsite. The worker was an employee of a NSW bricklaying company subcontracted to undertake the bricklaying works.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses and workers are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW respond to incidents where workers have been killed or seriously injured from falls from a height. Many of these incidents involve falling through a penetration.

Workers in the Construction Industry are commonly at risk of falling from height; however, any worker working at height is at risk of falling.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonably practicable control measures to manage the risk of falling from heights and working near penetrations including;

  • Installing barriers, such as guard rails or covers, that are secured and labelled with warning signs in areas where penetrations are present
  • Covering and marking, or installing guardrails around penetrations/voids
  • Providing workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas
  • Conducting a risk assessment prior to working near penetrations

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious injury in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall through asbestos roof 10 September 2018

Incident date

10 September 2018

Event

Fall from height through roof

Location

Newcastle East

Incident Overview

A 26 year-old labourer was on the roof of a home helping remove asbestos cement corrugated roof sheeting when one of the sheets gave way and he fell approximately 4 metres.

The fall-arrest system used did not prevent the worker from hitting the wooden floor below. The worker sustained a suspected broken wrist.

SafeWork NSW and NSW Ambulance responded to the incident and the worker was taken to hospital and received treatment for his injuries.

IIR Fall through asbestos roof 100918
Images of where the asbestos roof sheeting gave way from outside and inside the residence.

The site

The site is located at Newcastle East. The activity being undertaken at the time was the removal of asbestos roof sheeting on a residential dwelling. The site is under the control of a principal contractor with a sub-contractor engaged to undertake demolition and asbestos removal at the site.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses and workers are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW respond to incidents where workers have died or been seriously injured from falls from heights. Many of these incidents involve falling through roof material. Asbestos cement roof sheeting is known to become brittle with age.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonable and practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls.

Before starting work on an existing roof, carry out an inspection (from below) to determine:

  • the presence and condition of non-trafficable sheeting such asbestos cement sheeting and other brittle roof sheeting such as sky lights or plastic roof sheeting
  • for residential properties, the spacing and condition of roof purlins or trusses, including any gaps in purlins
  • for commercial properties, the presence and condition of safety mesh.

When determining whether roofs are safe to walk on, consider that product materials may become brittle with age and fixings may become less rigid over time.

Control measures to prevent a person from falling through a non-trafficable roof or skylight include:

  • plan to work from below whenever possible
  • plan the work to avoid accessing unsafe or non-trafficable areas
  • work from an elevated work platform or boom lift to avoid standing on the roof itself
  • install temporary work platforms (crawling boards) and roof ladders as appropriate
  • install barriers (such as guard rails or covers) that are secured and labelled with warning signs
  • install safety mesh when installing the roof sheeting
  • install a fall arrest system (harness system) which has adequately-installed anchorage points, along with training and instruction in the use.
  • ensure workers using an adjustable length (traveller) fall arrest system are competent and aware that the rope line is to have minimal slack, to protect then in the event they fall through, when walking or working on roofs and are aware of the pendulum effect when using single anchorage points.

Ensure the selected control measures are being consistently applied and review the control measures as work progresses.

Further information

Refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident in the roofing industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Scaffold Collapse 7 September 2018

Incident date

07/09/2018

Event

Scaffold Collapse

Location

Bronte

Incident overview

Partially dismantled 4-storey scaffolding on a multi-story residential construction site in Bronte has fallen away from the building and onto the neighbouring unit complex.

No residents were in the neighbouring property at the time of the incident. There were no injuries reported.

The residents were provided with temporary accommodation and a section of the road was closed while repair work occur.

SafeWork NSW, NSW Police and the State Emergency Services responded to the incident and Engineers were on site to make the site safe.

View of the 4-storey scaffolding which has collapsed and fallen onto neighbouring property
View of the 4-storey scaffolding which has collapsed and fallen onto a neighbouring property

The site

The site is located at Bronte. Activities undertaken at the site include the dismantling of scaffolding. The site is under the control of a principal contractor with the activity being undertaken by a sub-contractor.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW respond to incidents where the safety of workers, or nearby people, has been at risk from falling scaffolding.

Many of these incidents involve scaffolds with containment sheeting (eg shadecloth or mesh) which may place extra weight on a scaffold, particularly in bad weather when wind and rain can place additional live loads the materials.

A scaffold collapse not only puts workers lives at risk, but puts the public at significant risk of being hit by falling objects.

Businesses are reminded to implement control measures to manage the risk of scaffold collapse, such as ensuring:

  • the design of the scaffold installation considers wind load from the scaffold containment sheeting
  • provision and maintenance of sufficient ties of adequate strength for the loads, including wind load
  • regular inspection of scaffold ties to check they are not modified or altered by unauthorised people (eg finishing trades who may loosen, relocate or remove ties to gain access to walls and openings)
  • scaffolds are not left in a state of weakness when installing or dismantling the scaffolds (eg removing returns as they act like ties, or removing ties in preparation for dismantling).

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall through form deck 5 September 2018

Incident date

5 Sept 2018

Event

Fall from form deck

Location

Blackbutt in Shellharbour

Incident overview

A 40-year-old steel fixer was subcontracted to work on steel pre-fabricated walls.

He was standing on a piece of plywood, on top of laid formwork, when it gave way and he’s fallen 2 to 2.5 metres to the floor below. The worker struck his head and sustained bruising to his left arm and grazing to his right arm.

SafeWork NSW, NSW Police and NSW Ambulance responded to the incident and the worker was taken to hospital for treatment for his injuries.

IIR Fall through form deck 050918
Views of the void in the form deck outside and inside the site.

The site

The site is located at Blackbutt in Shellharbour. The activity being undertaken is the construction of a multi-story residential building. The site is under the control of a principal contractor with a subcontractor engaged to undertake the formwork decking on site.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW respond to incidents where workers have fallen from a height. Many of these incidents involve formwork.

Workers in the construction industry are most commonly injured however, any worker working from heights is at risk.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonable and practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls from heights including:

  • The PCBU must deem the working deck is complete before allowing other workers to access the deck. the deck
  • Installing barriers with signage in areas where formwork is incomplete
  • Covering and marking, or installing guardrails around penetrations/voids Providing workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious injury in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall through plastic roof sheeting 23 August 2018

Incident date

23 August 2018

Event

Fall from height through plastic roof sheeting

Location

Tomago in Northern NSW

Incident overview

A 19-year-old first year apprentice electrician was on the roof of a single storey commercial building, assisting with the installation of solar panels. The worker stepped on a plastic roof sheet and fell approximately 7 metres. The rope line had excessive slack between the worker and the anchorage point. The excessive slack in the rope line allowed the worker to fall the 7 metres to the concrete slab below.

The worker sustained multiple serious injuries from the incident. SafeWork NSW and NSW Ambulance responded to the incident and the worker was conveyed to hospital but later died from his injuries.


View of the broken roof sheeting from within the building.
View of the broken roof sheeting from within the building.

The site

The site is located at Tomago in Northern NSW. The activity being undertaken at the time was the installation of solar panels on a commercial building. A solar panel installation company was engaged to undertake the work for the commercial business.

The investigation

  • SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.
  • SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.
Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on our approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses and workers are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork NSW respond to incidents where workers have died or been seriously injured from falls from heights. Many of these incidents involve falling through brittle or fragile roof material.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonable and practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls.

Before commencing work on an existing roof, carry out an inspection from the ground to determine:

  • the presence and condition of sky lights, plastic roof sheeting and other brittle roof sheeting such as asbestos cement sheeting.
  • the presence and condition of safety mesh.

When determining whether roof surfaces are safe to walk on, consider the product materials and method of fixing, including any possible deterioration in strength. Note: products may become brittle and fixings may become less rigid over time.

Control measures to prevent a person from falling through a non-trafficable roof or skylight include:

  • plan the work to avoid accessing unsafe areas
  • work from a solid construction to avoid standing on the roof itself
  • install temporary work platforms (crawling boards) and roof ladders as appropriate
  • install barriers, such as guard rails or covers, that are secured and labelled with warning signs
  • install safety mesh when installing the roof sheeting
  • install a fall arrest system (harness system) which has adequately-installed anchorage points, along with training and instruction in the use.
  • ensure workers using an adjustable length fall arrest system are competent and aware that the system is intended to provide protection against falling through the roof, not just falls off the edge, and therefore they need to adjust the length to limit slack as they move.

Ensure the selected control measures are being consistently applied, and review the control measures as work progresses.

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a fatality in the Commercial Roofing industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Fall from height on construction site 3 August 2018

Incident date

3 August 2018

Event

Fall from height on construction site

Location

Church Street, Parramatta

Incident overview

A 62-year-old worker was undertaking formwork at a Parramatta construction site. He was placing a joist onto the falsework bearers below when he fell approximately 3.7 metres from the ply deck he was standing on to the deck below. He sustained a broken rib and a laceration to the back of his head.

SafeWork NSW and NSW Police responded to the incident. The worker was conveyed to hospital and received treatment for his injuries.

View of the formwork from the side and the level below

The site

The site is located at Church Street, Parramatta. Activities being undertaken at the site included formwork in preparation for a concrete pour. It is a multilevel construction site and is under the control of a principal contractor, with a sub-contractor engaged to carry out the formwork onsite.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outline our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year SafeWork respond to incidents where workers have fallen from a height. Fall prevention/protection measures include: guardrails, catch platforms, catch nets, and scaffold.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonable and practicable control measures to manage the risk of falls from heights while installing formwork, including:

  • eliminating the need to work from heights, eg use table forms or modular systems that can be erected from below
  • using a temporary working platform, scaffolding, boom lift or scissor lift to install bearers and joists from below
  • providing edge protection, eg guardrails on non-leading edges and catch platforms or catch nets at leading edges to limit the potential fall distance
  • covering and marking, or installing guardrails around, penetrations/voids
  • providing workers with safe means of access and egress to work areas

Further information

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a fatality/serious injury/serious incident in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Struck by plant on construction site 30 July 2018

Incident date

30 July 2018

Event

Struck by plant on construction site

Location

Epping Road at Macquarie Park

Incident overview

A 36-year-old male worker was agitating concrete being poured into a column. A blockage in the pipework has caused a build-up of pressure. Several pump and delivery line components failed, resulting in the rubber discharge hose striking the worker.

SafeWork NSW and NSW Ambulance responded to the incident. The worker was conveyed to Hospital and he received treatment for his injuries.

Image of the rubber end (discharge) hose, coupling, elbow and two pump line components.
Image of the rubber end (discharge) hose, coupling, elbow and two pump line components.

The site

The site is located on Epping Road at Macquarie Park. It is a high rise residential construction site and is under the control of a principal contractor. A sub-contractor had also been engaged to carry out the concrete pour.

The investigation

SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outlines our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety Information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year, we respond to incidents where workers have been struck by plant, including concrete placing equipment. Many of these incidents involve the sudden escape of pressurised concrete, the dislodgement or failure of pipeline components, or the sudden movement of the plant and/or components resulting from pressure build-up within the equipment.

Workers in the construction industry are most commonly injured.

Due to the cyclic loading of the pulsating pump, the risk of mechanical or structural failure of concrete pumping equipment is increased when compared to other plant, particularly risks associated with:

  • fatigue failure of welds
  • restraining devices such as pins and circlips becoming dislodged.

Businesses are reminded to consider reasonably practicable control measures to manage the risk of structural or mechanical failure of concrete placing equipment by ensuring that:

  • operators of concrete placing booms hold the relevant high-risk work licence
  • periodic inspection, testing and maintenance is undertaken in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, including pipe wall thickness testing
  • welding or repair work on the concrete pump or any associated equipment is only undertaken by a welder or service provider holding the appropriate qualifications and, where possible, in possession of the manufacturer’s current specifications
  • pre-operational inspections are undertaken, including the visual inspection of structural components and other critical components such as fasteners, pins, shafts, welds and locking devices such as pipe clamps are secured with safety pins, and clamp and anchor nuts are tightened adequately
  • all lines, pipes, couplings and fittings can withstand the maximum pump pressure (including during blockages) or the pump pressure is adjusted so that it does not exceed pipeline capacity
  • all metal pipes and pipeline components are identified and checked for compatibility
  • pipes are anchored at intervals specified by the manufacturer, and near joints to prevent bending and casing fatigue failures
  • reducers are only used as per the manufacturer’s recommendations to avoid overload of the delivery line

Further information

Please refer to the following guidance materials:

About this information release

We have issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious injury in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate SafeWork NSW officer or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

Download a PDF of this release

Electrical incident resulting in an arc flash 24 July 2018

Incident date

24 July 2018

Event

Electrical incident resulting in an arc flash

Location

Bidwill

Incident overview

A 31-year old male worker was undertaking excavation works using an electrical hammer drill to remove concrete which covered a shallow trench. The work was being undertaken near low voltage cables and an 11kv high voltage cable, all of which were energised at the time. The worker struck the 11kv cable and an arc flash occurred. He sustained serious burns to his upper body and face.

Over 13,600 homes were affected, with power restored to the majority of homes soon after the incident. The remaining homes were supplied with power from a generator until the damaged 11kV cable could be repaired.

SafeWork NSW, NSW Ambulance, NSW Police Force and the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (electricity supply regulator), responded to the incident. The worker was conveyed to hospital and is receiving treatment for his injuries.

Trench excavation site where works were being undertaken.
Trench excavation site where works were being undertaken.

The site

The site is located at Bidwill, in Sydney’s West. Activities undertaken at the site included excavation work and the running of electrical cable inside the trench. The site was under the control of a contractor who had been engaged by the electrical network operator to undertake the works.

The investigation

  • SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.
  • SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

Our Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outlines our approach to prosecutions and Safe Work Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on their approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

Safety information

Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

Each year, we respond to incidents where workers have been exposed to risks associated with working near underground electrical assets. Many of these incidents involve energised cables being struck by plant, which can result in serious injuries including burns, electric shock or death.

Businesses are reminded of their duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that no person, plant or thing at the workplace comes within an unsafe distance of an underground electric line.

If it is not reasonably practicable to ensure the safe distance of a person, plant or thing from an underground electric line, you must make sure that:

  • a risk assessment is conducted in relation to the proposed work
  • the control measures implemented are consistent with the risk assessment and any requirements of the electrical network operator responsible for the electric line.

Being aware of the risk of electric shock or serious burns from striking live electricity cables while excavating is critical. When undertaking excavation works, know the environment, know your tools and equipment, and know the steps to take to get the job done safely and without causing damage.

If you don’t know, don’t dig, and follow the four P’s of safe excavation:

  • Plan
  • Pothole
  • Protect
  • Proceed.

Further information

The guide to working near underground assets has detailed information for businesses, workers, and other parties involved in construction work near underground assets.

Awareness video: Don’t Know Don’t Dig

Download a PDF of this release

Falling object from construction site 6 July 2018

Incident date

6 July 2018

Event

Falling object from construction site

Location

Princes Highway at Rockdale

Overview

During the demolition of an existing commercial premises, parts of the front façade fell onto the pedestrian footpath, scattering debris onto the footpath and the Princes Highway. The incident occurred during strong winds. As a result, two northbound lanes of the highway were closed. There were no reported injuries.

SafeWork NSW, NSW Police, Fire and Rescue and Public Works Engineers responded to the incident.

Front and side view of the building façade with a view of the façade collapse onto the footpath.
Front and side view of the building façade with a view of the façade collapse onto the footpath.

    The site

    The site is located on Princes Highway at Rockdale. The site is currently undergoing demolition and is under the control of a principal contractor. A sub-contractor had also been engaged to carry out demolition works on the site. At the time of the incident, the front façade and partial return/buttress walls were the only building elements yet to be demolished. The front façade consisted of brickwork, and glass windows and doors.

    The investigation

    • SafeWork NSW Inspectors responded to the incident.
    • SafeWork NSW has commenced an investigation to determine the cause and circumstances of the incident.

    SafeWork NSW’s Prosecution Guidelines (January 2018) outlines the Regulator’s approach to prosecutions and SafeWork Australia’s National Compliance and Enforcement Policy provides guidance on the Regulator’s approach to compliance. These documents set out factors that will be considered in determining the investigative approach and appropriate outcome.

    Safety information

    Businesses are reminded of their duty to identify hazards and manage risks to health and safety in accordance with the provisions of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 and Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017.

    Principal contractors and other businesses working in construction and/or demolition have additional and specific duties under the WHS legislation. Those duties extend to both workers and others – including members of the public, and require businesses to ensure the risks associated with unplanned structural collapse and/or falling debris are managed so far as is reasonably practicable in accordance with the legislation.

    Businesses are required to implement reasonably practicable measures to the eliminate or minimise the risks associated with unplanned structural collapse or falling debris by ensuring:

    • the demolition method and sequencing is planned in consultation with the building/structure designers, or if it is not reasonably practicable to do so, in consultation with appropriately competent persons eg structural engineers.
    • the building or structure to be demolished and all its components are maintained in a safe and structurally stable condition at all times until completion of the project. Temporary braces, propping, shoring or guys may need to be added to ensure that stability of the structure is maintained.
    • external factors that may impact on the structural integrity of the building or structure are considered and the associated risks are managed eg vibrations from demolition activities, wind, water pooling or egress around footings or supports.
    • adequate protection to members of the public are provided and maintained by installing, for example, hoarding, overhead protective structures, heavy duty scaffolding and/or or containment screening; or by implementing road closures and/or specified exclusion zones.
    • measures installed to provide public protection are designed and constructed to withstand the applicable loads (consultation with an appropriately competent person may be required).
    • measures installed to provide public protection are in place prior to commencing associated demolition works.
    • all control measures are monitored by a competent person to assess the on-going suitability of the demolition method and sequencing and to identify signs of structural weakening e.g. movement or cracking.

    Further information

    Please refer to the following guidance materials:

    About this information release

    SafeWork NSW has issued this information to draw attention to the occurrence of a serious incident in the construction industry. Investigations are ongoing and further information may be published as it becomes available.

    The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. Users are reminded of the need to ensure any information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of SafeWork NSW or the user’s independent adviser. No conclusions should be drawn from the information in this publication about the cause of the incident or the culpability of any party.

    All photographs were taken by SafeWork NSW.

    Download a PDF of this release

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