Fall from height on construction site 3 August 2018

A 62-year-old worker was undertaking formwork at a Parramatta construction site when he fell 3.7 metres.

Incident date

3 August 2018


Fall from height on construction site


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.

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