Fall through ventilation shaft - 21 August

Incident overview

A 38-year-old man sustained fatal injuries when he fell through a construction site ventilation shaft in Jordan Springs, in western Sydney. The worker was clearing building material from the roof, when he fell down the shaft.

Image of the shaft the worker fell through.
Image of the ventilation shaft the worker fell through.

The investigation

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

Safety information

Falls from heights are a major cause of fatalities and serious injuries in NSW workplaces. You must consider ‘reasonably practicable’ control measures to manage the risk of falls from heights.

You should:

  • Give your workers a safe means of access and egress to work areas.
  • Identify penetrations and install covers or guardrails
    • Use covers that are strong enough to withstand the expected load of workers and materials; fix them in place to prevent accidental removal; and mark them so they’re not mistaken for construction material.
    • Guardrails should comply with the AS/NZS 4994 series or AS 1657.
  • Identify where penetrations may open once formwork is removed and install covers or guardrails before stripping.
  • Put mesh into concrete slabs, as a backup to covers or guardrails.

Further information

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